My First Fast

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IN a bid to challenge my consumption on both an environmental and health level, yesterday I partook in my first food fast. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. She’s clawing her way one step closer to becoming a miu miu wearing hippy. While this may be my ultimate goal in life, I really did want to see how my body and mind would react to limiting my food intake to that of a child. 

I was inspired to do this by a story in The Weekend Australian which talks about a new program known as intermittent fasting (IF). Under this plan, on two alternate days a week you essentially limit your daily intake to 2720 kilojoules for women (a little more for men), allowing your body to restore and recover.

While it’s still in its infancy, the “diet” is receiving rave reviews for its ability to reduce the chances of things like cancer, as it works on the premise that while we are always burning food fuel, our bodies don’t have time to actually repair. Followers also report losing at least 1kg a week.

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So, was it all just a bit kooky like the time my sister and I invested our entire summer spending money in a bottle of Ebony tanning lotion, under the premise we would turn into Whitney Houston? Or did I actually realise some results? Let me also add, I am not someone who normally take photos of her food. Unless you are a food writer or chef, I find it intriguing when a bunch of white, wealthy people in the western world document  everything they eat. (During this fast, you will notice how much everyone talks about food on Facebook. Stay off Facebook. One friend even posted a photo of a keyring that looked like a macaron).

I start the morning with the recommended breakfast: one boiled egg and a cup of black coffee. For someone who heaps two teaspoons of sugar and some milk into her daily Cup of Joe, this was a challenge. I tried to concentrate on the sensation of the coffee. Silky and black and a vessel to wake me up in the morning. A bit like my ideal man. Although I also like my ideal man to be sweet. I take my time and savour the egg, which is delicious, although I just wish there was more of it. Why, God, why, did I choose a normal chook egg and not that of an emu? Meanwhile, I reminisce about the missing piece of toast like a long-lost lover.

FoodFast 003 By mid-morning I am not only feeling light-headed, but I am also having evil, hateful thoughts towards my parents. My low blood sugar is causing me to recall every horrible thing they’ve ever done (or not done) and is playing out like a horror movie in my head. Thankfully, I’ve been to meditation class the night before, and am practising to just “observe” the Freddy Kruger in my head.

Lunch. At last. I’ve spent the past 4.5 hours since my egg glancing at the clock, counting down like a child would to Christmas. Lunch is a bowl of vegetable soup. Who knew carrots, corn and chickpeas could be a whole world of fun?

The thing that concerns me is my afternoon swim. How on earth am I going to swim 1km on a stomach devoid of carbs? Secondly, if anyone else attempts to share my lane, I’m in such a scratchy mood, I think I might drown them, myself, or both of us. I panic a little. There’s nothing in the story about exercise. Am I meant to do it at all?

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By mid-afternoon, I think I could eat one of the small children I spied at the pool but I’m lucid enough to realise this could result in me losing my Blue Card. I feel like Victoria Beckham – hungry and cranky. I decide to make a cup of Peppermint tea.

Dinner is a veritable feast of 10 cherry tomatoes, half a sliced eggplant (I cheat and buy the biggest I can find), 1 zucchini, 1 red capsicum and half a red onion scattered with basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and roasted. I think I might burst with glee when I read the recipe also allows for 1 tablespoon of parmesan. I pretend the eggplant is a steak and my sparkling mineral water is a G&T. FoodFast 006

I go to bed slightly earlier, and hungrier than normal. I realise all I’ve thought about all day is food (which is a nice change from men). Funny about what you obsess, when you can no longer have it. But I’ve done it! While I wouldn’t rush to do it again, I have learned something new about food and my attitude towards it. In a world where so many are starving, it’s nice to be reminded of our abundance.

The Global Goddess’ verdict: Unlike total fasts, which I believe are not practical and possibly send your body into “starvation mode” when next you eat, the restricted calorie intake fast has merit. I could see it working after a big holiday or festive season in which you’ve over-indulged. Possibly, and this is the hard bit, if we restricted our calories a little every day, we wouldn’t have to resort to two days of fasting. What really appealed to me was that it made me value every morsel and think about the food I consumed.  To donate to Foodbank Australia – whose mantra is “an Australia without hunger” – go to www.foodbank.com.au

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A Date with Destiny

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DEPENDING on your point of view, we’re facing either the end of the world, or the end of the year sometime in the next two weeks. For the record, I’m going with the latter, but in any case, I thought it might be timely to provide a little festy…I mean festive, update on my dating success.

At this point I should warn you, you could stop reading now and be just as wise as those who make it to the end. Or, if you’re really bored and trying to kill those last few days at work before Christmas, please read on.

In recent weeks, and in no particular order, there’s been a host of potential new suitors, via my dating site. Let me introduce you to some of the men who’ve been contacting me. I don’t want to brag, but they’ve been practically lining up to meet me (or, in the case of the photo below which I took in Laos some years back, are much more enlightened souls than those on my dating site).

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My most recent admirer has been a bloke who calls himself Rough Diamond (obviously, he doesn’t work in PR). Rough, 42, doesn’t believe in apostrophes, but does like fishing, camping and 4×4’s. He apparently cooks “a mean muffin”, has a dog called “Bundy” and listens to Guns and Roses. The real treat was Rough’s answer to the kinds of sport he liked: “If you can class drinking as a sport, I guess I play that.”

The next fella calls himself Caloundra Bloke. Caloundra reckons we have “a lot in common” but exactly what that is remains a mystery to me, for despite asking him to actually fill out some of his profile or perhaps email me with a few highlights, he refuses. I can’t help but wonder whether Calounda’s wife knows he’s on a dating site.

Andy P, also from the Sunshine Coast (ladies, there appears to be a pandemic of single men on the Sunny at the moment), actually engaged in a one-hour internet chat with me, in which he revealed he had retired at 37 and owned a yacht called Chardonnay. Andy asked me how I’d feel about a sunset sail, some seafood and some good conversation, to which I replied: “That sounds great!”. At that point, I never heard from Andy again. Now, I’m either doing something wrong, or Andy’s yacht is actually a tinnie.

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Finally, there’s Tantric, who, as his name suggests is Indian. The problem with Tantric is that he also lives in India and has asked me to come and visit him which is a little outside the 50km radius I’ve stipulated on my profile. Apparently his name means “Shiva” in Sanskrit and he is looking for his “Shakthi”. I’m not entirely sure what a Shakthi is, and despite doing a bit of yoga and meditation lately, I don’t think I’m the girl for Tantric. 

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Which leaves me with the same old question, what to do about dating? According to a recent report in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, you now download a Virtual Boyfriend App, tailor him to meet your needs, and dump him when he doesn’t make the grade. You can even download a Wingman App, when you’re lost for the perfect pick-up line which also comes with a pep talk for when you’re feeling a bit blue in the dating department.

I guess it’s all food for thought this silly season as we entertain the prospect of exactly who, if anyone, we’ll be kissing under the mistletoe. As for me, and knowing my luck, I will finally find a boyfriend…just as the world ends.  

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A few good men

AMONG all the dud dates and absolute disasters, it’s prudent every now and then to focus on the good things, and given tomorrow is Father’s Day in Australia, I’m reminded of all the good men in my life. Those who have shaped and supported me (a little like a wonder bra), who tell me when I’m talking rubbish (which is often) and who love me regardless.

And so, I present my Top Ten Men (in no particular order):

1. Nelluloid- my second oldest male friend, we met in Year 9 maths where we shared with each other what little we knew about sex. Which was nothing. I knew even less about maths. Nelluloid is frustrating, always late, and a shocking communicator once he leaves your sight. He is also the first person I’d call if I were ever locked in a prison and needed bail, if someone close to me died, or a relationship ends. He would give me the shirt off his back and has been known to wear one or two items of my clothing in public on occasion.

2. Mr Man – another of my oldest male friends, we met while working as journalists in a newsroom. We share a love of travel, although we’ve never travelled together, and an intense dislike to working for a living. We communicate daily on several pressing points, such as whether green is the new black. We share a dream of marrying an incredibly older rich man who promptly dies and leaves us his fortune. Mr Man says he will sleep with anyone for $1 million, so Rupert Murdoch, if you are reading this, I can arrange a meeting. My price tag is slightly higher.

3. Thorn – we met at work 10 years ago, firmly became great mates and even better mates the day they sacked our entire team. We share a love of dodgy pubs, cheap pub grub and bad boys. In his spare time Thorn is a show girl, and I am a show off. We share a love of words and a common dream to one day write a best-selling novel that doesn’t involve wizards or whips.

 

4. Tacky – Twas Tacky who suggested I write this piece, so I figure he should make it into the Top Ten. Tacky and I met only a few years back and clicked. Unlike most Americans, Tacky is softly-spoken and doesn’t think the United States is the centre of the universe. He is, however, likely to tell me when I’m being a fool, which is often, and appreciated. Anyone married to Mrs Tacker can’t be all that bad.

5. Howie – my first love and oldest male friend. We met in Grade One at our country Queensland primary school. Howie was the first, and still one of the few men, who had the courage to ask me to dance. He was blond and shy and cute. We lost touch over the years but recently caught up again. He hasn’t changed. Howie says I talk much more than he remembers from back in the 1970s.

6. Honourable mentions: Surfie; Dan; Chris; Herde; Jimmy; Jimmy; Denny; RyanAir; Jamie; Brenton; Bruce; Ash; Jake; Franzipani; Gerry; Tommy; Mr May; Dicky; Larder, Timmy, Bryan (and apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten)

7. The man of my dreams (or Hugh Jackman)- according to Michael Buble, I just haven’t met you yet. When I do, I’m sure you will make the Top Ten.

8. My great, great grandfather Christian – you left Europe on a three-month boat journey (yes, I’m a boat person), with your wife back in the 1860s to avoid religious persecution and to build a better life for your family. Five generations later here I am, living in the Lucky Country. Thank you for imbuing in me a sense of adventure and wonderment at the world.

9. My grandfather, James – You may have died 20 years ago, but I love that you introduced me to the great Australian poets. How you would recite Lawson and Paterson to our young ears, with a twinkle in your Irish eyes. How you used to line up seven glasses of softdrink for your seven grandchildren and ensure we each received an equal amount of the fizzy stuff.

And…

10. My father – We have a complex relationship which I have never quite mastered. You are a strong disciplinarian, a perfectionist and a critic. You are also the man who sent his family on holidays to the beach every Christmas while you worked to keep us going. We never went without food or shelter. Happy Father’s Day.

My Dating Double Life

HE called himself “Gregarious Guy” and my word was he witty…on paper. To put you in the picture, my internet dating profile goes a little like this: “Secret Agent…I could tell you the truth that I am secret agent Natascha from Minsk, but then I’d have to kill you. Let’s just pretend instead that I’m a down-to-earth Brissie girl…”

And I loved his response. “Dear Natascha, very clever to disguise yourself as a down-to-earth Brissie girl. I think the last time I met you was in Amsterdam on the M15 cover up job. Do you remember me? I had a moustache at the time. I would have loved to have taken you out for a drink but I was teamed up with that tall Armenian woman Rhona. She was a real handful! Yes, I am also stuck here in Brisbane. Those American idiots in the CIA will never think to look for us here. Let me take you out for a drink. Do you still have a weakness for Vodka?”

To writers, word play is like foreplay. Punctuation is our porn. And if you are any good at alliteration, I will have your children. And with Klaus, I was hooked. He had me at hello.

 And then we met. It was a cold, wet winter’s night more suited to secret agents than a slothful Brisbane girl who was slightly resentful at having to surrender her pajamas and hot water bottle for dress-up gear, but never let it be said I don’t give things a go. And so off I trotted into Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley to meet in a dimly-lit wine bar.

I was the first to arrive. I ordered a champagne and perched myself on a bar stool. I was aware I looked a little like a “working girl” waiting for a client. I tried not to look like a working girl. His first fatal error was he was late. I don’t care if you’ve just passed a kidney stone, you don’t turn up late for first dates or job interviews. In fact, a little early is pretty good in my opinion. There were so many opening lines he could have used, but instead, he stared right at me and simply said: “So, here you are.” I looked back awkwardly. “Yes, I am.” By this stage, I had almost finished my champagne, bar a drop. He walked to the bar, and ordered himself a drink. There was no offer for me, which wouldn’t have been quite so bad if “gregarious guy” wasn’t so dull. It occurred to me 5 minutes into the meeting that I’d need to be rather intoxicated to survive this evening.

He was 52. He spoke about power lines and moving back to live with his mother to save money. Red flags were jumping out all over the place. He told me about his second cousin. Forty-five minutes into the date, he asked me to dinner. By this stage, I was stone, cold sober.

“Yes, I am hungry but I’m going to go home as I’ve got an important meeting tomorrow,” I replied. And at the same moment I went to shake his hand, he went to kiss me in another of those awkward exchanges you wish you could erase. I dashed out of the bar and made my way home, starving. I stopped at my local Ceylon restaurant and ordered a champagne and a takeaway prawn curry.

“Where shall I sit while I’m waiting for my curry?” I asked the lovely waiter.

And right in the front of the restaurant full of diners he motioned towards a throne. A carved wooden throne. Perfect, I thought, climbing up onto the regal perch, careful not to spill a drop of champagne. I may have started out the evening as a secret agent (if you ignore that brief stint as a “working girl”), but at least I ended it as a princess.

As for Klaus, he texted three days later. He told me he loved my “energy” but didn’t feel any chemistry between us. Then he asked me out again.  I’d love to Klaus, really I would, but Natascha has been sent to Dubrovnik on assignment. Indefinitely.