Healthy fare Melbourne

After hitting all the cafes I mentioned here, one should definitely check out the following clean eating spots while in the mecca of all things food, aka Melbourne.

Clean Eats and Treats (non cafe)

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The best airport snacks I didn’t get to enjoy; the glass bottle smashed on the floor. Sadness.

Green Press, Little Collins Stret, CBD

This little shop offers cold pressed organic juices, raw treats, smoothies and clean lunch options. They’ve created their own version of a donut, made with pumpkin and almond meal. My favorite juice: Captain Planet with blue green algae, coconut water and grapefruit.

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Ex salad master of Laneway Greens waiting for her smoothie.

Laneway Greens, Flinders Lane, CBD

This small salad bar on Flinders Lane should make the cut to any list of salad bars, great lunches, healthy food, smoothies, and value for money joints. I might be a bit biased to talk about this place since I was part of the team from day 1, but at least I can say that they really ARE what they preach. No cutting corners, all clean and hearty fare, big enough portions to save some for later, and smoothies that are the best money can buy. I can’t recommend any one salad, since all of them are to die for, but the Miso Salmon would probably be my favourite, along with the Seared Tuna. All dressings are made in house, with no extra sugars or additives. You can also get your smoothie bowl and chia pudding fix at LG, or grab a fresh pressed juice to go. 

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Glass box of pure goodness at Pana.

Pana Chocolate, Church Street, Richmond

This little chocolate shop on Church Street sells the most delicious handcrafted raw treats you can find. In addition to their chocolate bars, Pana sells different slices, pops (think ice cream pops but made from chocolate, coated with nut crumble), truffles and such. Guilt-free indulgence at its’ best! 

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Guilt-free lamingtons. Nom.

Terra Madre, High Street, Northcote

Not a cafe or a quirky small independent artisan shop, but the best shop for all things organic, natural and eco-friendly. Fresh veggies, breads and eggs, huge bulk section full of nuts, seeds, flours, spices and dry cooking things, and everything you could imagine buying for your kitchen (and bathroom). Cheap cheap, too!

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Bulk goodies at Terra Madre.

Yo-Chi, several locations

Froxzen yoghurt to the win! They usually have one soy option and one coconut-based option for vegans, otherwise the flavours speak for themselves: how about rose, matcha or mango? The various toppings seal the deal. Other great sweet tooth fix: Frozen froyo on Chapel street and Melbourne Central. 

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Nordic Food Co. selling homey goodies in Alma Park on Saturdays at the Hank Marvin Markets.

Markets: Queen Victoria, South Melbourne, Prahran – and pop-up markets such as Hank Marvin

Fresh seasonal veggies and fruit, delicatessen and anything you might need for a picnic in the park, the markets are my go-to place when it comes to weekly shopping or being ingredients for a dinner with friends. Best hummus in the world: South Melbourne market, Steve’s Deli. You can also find coconut cheese from South Melbourne market! 

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A Week in Melbourne

This week is not by any means like every other week, but it definitely has many similarities to others. It seems like the less I plan things, the more fun I end up having!

Friday
It is a public holiday, since it’s the Grand Final of Aussie rules football (AFL) the following day. Wait, what? So no work on Friday, and everything has weird opening hours. I am lucky enough to have a friend lend me his bike since he bought a new one, so I need to learn how to a) ride a road racer and b) learn how to obey the rules. Luckily enough there are heaps of bike lanes in the city.

I go to South Melbourne market, have a bike ride, and spend the evening with a friend in a huge artists’ market browsing through all the wonderful things that would be cool to have but I cannot afford. It’s about 30 degrees warm during the day, so I can easily walk home at night with just one shirt.

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Saturday
The Big Game Day, and I have no clue what to do. A nice bike ride in the morning sun, Southbank-Albert Park-Saint Kilda-Prahran-South Melbourne-Southbank. I do stop at Prahran market as well as stock up on Questbars in the awesome hidden gem, Prahran convenience. Afterwards I decide to join a friend to a pub in Richmond to “watch the game”, more like observe all the interesting Aussie spectacle sports behavior. During the game we come up with plans for the next steps, and decide to head to a random house party in Fitzroy. We take a pitstop in Little Saigon to fill ourselves for the ride and the night. The party turns out to be in a massive dream house that has a sweet sweet pool, and we leave only when we can’t keep our eyes open anymore at 2am. First bikeride in the dark, empty city feels good, probably because it’s again t-shirt weather.

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Sunday
Picnic day. I spend the morning baking stuff (not smart to keep the oven on in the heat), and head to the Carlton Gardens around 2. All other people are pretty much late, so I get pretty frustrated with all the lying down and not doing anything. All in all I end up spending 5 hours at the park, hanging out with friends and meeting new ones. Afterwards we go to St. Kilda to a funky party with singers walking in the crowd while singing. Decent end for the long weekend. And I didn’t even burn in the sun!

Monday
After work I have a dreaded dentists’ appointment, and they suggest they take my wisdom tooth out. Half an hour later I walk out to the heat with one less tooth that they refused to give back me due to Australian law (wtf), and stitches in my swollen mouth. I have banana ice cream for dinner, and wonder if the numbness wears out by the next day.

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Tuesday
After work I go to a bar to work for a few hours, after which I spend the evening with a friend who always makes me want to improve myself in many ways. I miss my wisdom tooth, physically. It hurts.

Wednesday
Free coffee in the park after work, yay! I feel sluggish after not working out for 3 days, so I decide to go to a TRX class. I love the sneaky burn with no jumping and running around.

Thursday
I work 10 hours and find out my F45 class I was looking forward to is cancelled. I get frustrated, go to pilates instead, and don’t feel like I’ve done anything. I take a “little” detour on my way home and decide to bike trough South Yarra and Prahran to Southbank.

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Friday
I have a PT appointment after work and have to ride on some scary roads and a bridge to get there. Worth it, though! I rush to the city to go the Asian food truck festival in Queen Victoria market. What a summery night – warm, good music, loads of people, food!

 

And this was just the beginning of the weekend! (Ok fair enough I worked on Saturday so weekend was just Sunday for me, but I did manage to have a swim, dinner date, and go to a Japanese festival where I wore a kimono and did tea ceremony. Success.)

Guidance

I don’t know about Japan in general, but here in APU there is a guidance for everything. During the first 2 weeks before school started, we had guidances at least about the following topics: health, library (included 3 videos, one guide book, a lecture and a tour in the actual building), successful student life, clubs and activities and course registration. These guidances are of course rather important, but I think it is possible to go to the library, loan a book and get out unharmed even without watching the third video. Everyone here is very helpful about everything, and there is staff and students to assist lost people, so after the fifth guidance everything started to look a bit, ahem, goofy.

This is one of the things you cannot do in the gym. Beware.

In order to use the gym on campus, one must attend gym guidance. The first gym guidance session was held this week, so no I am finally able to go there (though I would have had much more time when I school hadn’t started yet…) We were told not to sleep during the guidance, since that would result in not getting the required gym membership card. 10 minute video explained the gym rules and the proper use of the machines, telling beginners what not to do (as if they would remember anything about techniques or the various ways they could harm themselves). One must always enter the gym in indoors shoes. You must sign in. You must sign the time you start using the treadmill. The list goes on. Of course there is a guard at the gym, who could assist people if needed.

After the video, we signed a card and so now I can finally go to the gym, since I got myself a brand new pair of (men’s) sneakers for 1980yen.

Health check

Today was my first encounter with the ultimate Japanese efficiency – even though everything has gone rather smoothly so far, the health check up of today was the proof of Japanese capability of organizing and dealing with large number of people.

All new students were taken on shuttle buses to the health center. We had previously filled out a questionnaire about our medical history, and another document about our current health. With these documents we went from one check point to another, and always someone confirmed that we were still carrying our own documents.
After receiving a cup to pee in, I went to the changing room to put on a robe. X-ray was a matter of an inhale, followed swiftly by blood pressure, then blood sample, and the usual height, weight and eyesight examinations. All of this was over in 20 minutes! I was not the only one who felt like being on a factory production line, since there was several hundred of us! If only things were this fast in Finland… Back home, the health check up is only a matter of stepping on a scale, being measured and asked about feelings. Now the only thing left to do is to wait for the results and hope that I do not have any serious illnesses. Most of my friends, me included, were wondering why they were measured to be shorter than before. Most people have apparently also lost weight since coming here, although with all the noodles and snacks, it seems unlikely. Maybe that is a Japanese paradox, and I am two cm shorter in here!

This way to health (center)?

Another example of Japanese efficiency today: My toilet was broken – it was leaking and keeping the flushing sound. I went to the office to explain the problem to the lady who does not understand a single word of English. After explaining her about my toire problem, I signed a form saying that it is ok with me if someone comes to my room to fix the problem. After few hours, nothing had happened. My Japanese friend came with me to the office to explain that there is quite a waste of water with the leaking (they are very sensitive about wasting water here). As it turns out, the lady had thought that my toilet lamp is dying, and that’s why they did not come sooner. The security officer came to my room (after asking permission), and within 3 minutes the toilet was fixed. It is easy, if you know how!

New adventures, new destination

Today I received an advertisement in snail mail, that said “Tia, the world awaits you”. Surprising, since 1) I never get mail and 2) It is so true!

I was not sure how or when to post about this, but I guess now is as good time as any – I am already on the Four Sigma Foods website, so I guess I can say that it is official and will happen – after Japan, hello Hong Kong!

Four Sigma Foods Instant products, Green Honey+ and one bulk item

I got an internship at the best possible company I could have ever hoped for – Luonto Life, or Four Sigma Foods is an ethical company, that does something good they really believe in. This is not an advertisement post (who knows, maybe I’ll make one later), so in case you’re interested in wellbeing, health, nutrition and nutrition-rich ingredients, Chinese medicine, alternative solutions to contemporary medicine, or just good blog posts, check out the Four Sigma Foods website, and read the blog!

In the future, I will surely write about Four Sigma Foods, and I will have to add a Hong Kong category, too!