Eating vegan in Melbourne

Before moving to Melbourne I really thought it was easy eating vegan in Glasgow. It’s supposedly the vegan capital of the UK. The haven for all British vegans where they’ve got plenty of options and places to eat in. Having lived in Melbourne for over two months now I can tell you I’m mindblown at how much there is to choose from and how easy it is to eat vegan here.

First of all, there are so many vegan eateries I feel like I’ll be able to go to a new place every time and  never run out of new places to try. They’re everywhere and I feel like there are specialised vegan place for every cuisine you could think of Italian, Thai, Lebanese, Mexican, Japanese… You name it I’m pretty sure there’d be a place for it somewhere here in Melbourne. There are even vegan delis, bakeries and ice cream shops. Then there are all the healthy eateries and brunch places too. The Maddie places hehe. Not only are there loads of them but their menus are like no other I’ve ever seen before. They’re interesting, fun and different. I love when you can go out and have something you perhaps wouldn’t make at home because it requires a bit more effort than you would like to make.

Secondly, even the “normal” restaurants and cafes nearly always have vegan options. Last week I went for dinner with everyone at my work so I could meet them before I started. We went for Italian and I knew most likely there would be something there I can eat. I looked at the menu and the only thing at first glance on the menu, which was vegan was a quinoa salad. A bit boring and something I have very often. I thought, even though I’m not a massive pizza fan, that would be a bit more exciting than a salad so I was going to order one without cheese. I spoke to the waiter when it was my turn to order and asked what my options were. He replied saying they even had vegan cheese for the pizza so just choose what I’d like on it and that would be easily sorted. How good is that? Just your little Italian joint on the corner has vegan pizza options at the ready. I was pretty amazed by that.

I now no longer have to face the dilemma or ordering something boring just because it happens to be meat and dairy free. I no longer have to feel like I’m missing out and I don’t have to feel like I’m inconveniencing the restaurant. Again, if I really wanted to have a dish with dairy or a dish with some fish or seafood I’d have it but I don’t feel the craving at all for it and feel very at peace with how I’m eating now. About 98/99% vegan most of the time and I will probably never call myself vegan. I don’t want to be defined by a label. The same way I don’t really call myself a Crossfitter, I train Crossfit but it doesn’t define me.

Anyway, I’m slowly working my way through the eateries around the area and during the weekend Mich and I took all over dogs to Kin Corner Store in Cheltenham. A relatively new vegan café Mich came across on Facebook and we’ve been talking about going for a while.

The menu was quite small but with a couple of tasty sounding options. We both went for the falafel and asked for bread on the side because we were starving. I also had a turmeric latte (loving that there is always an exciting option for us non-coffee drinkers everywhere). Then our food came out and it looked lovely. The first thing both Mich and I noticed was that it was a bit on the small side. Definitely not something that would fill a super hungry Maddie haha. We devoured our food. It was delicious the dish. I actually ended up asking for another slice of bread which we shared. I could’ve had about double or triple the size of that dish but it was tasty!

Yesterday Mim finally arrived back from her travels in Canada and I can’t tell you how good it was to see her face! I was squealing when I got in the car to hug her. We went for a class at Red Bluff and then had Thai food afterwards. There was so much to talk about that we were chatting non-stop until she had to head home to get ready for a festival she’s going to today. So now she’s away again for a couple of days. Her and I are now officially looking for a flat together, which is super exciting! It would be amazing if we could live together. I can’t wait to finally have a more permanent living situation. Moving around all the time gets tiring! I don’t think I’m quite made for the nomadic life but whilst it’s still happening I’m going to just make the most of it.

Today is my last day in the house before Perry’s family is back! Time to get packing and I also want to give the place a little tidy up before they arrive back. Three weeks have gone by so quickly and a lot has happened in that time.

Time to get going! Speak soon, M xxx

A new chapter

This is where I found myself last night after coming through the door after a long day filled with new impressions and experiences. Taylor came and greeted me at the door like she always does and then the floor looked awfully comfortable all of a sudden haha. So there I was lying on the floor in the hallway and Taylor just looked at me and made herself comfortable on my head pretty much. Taylor reminds me a bit of my dog Micro and how we used to snuggle in front of the TV in the evenings. I suppose there was lab in him too, which could be why I see similarities. However, dog’s personalities vary so much still and you don’t click with all dogs.

First day of work was really fun, at times it was a bit overwhelming when a lot of things were happening at the same time but I feel like I got the hang of it fairly quickly. I still have lots to learn but it was a good start at least! My head felt like mush when leaving after my first shift. It’s nice to be busy again and I can tell my brain is not quite used to thinking in that way at the moment. I went home and spent some time with Taylor before getting ready for the gym. It was the last day of our 12 week squat programme so an exciting day for us all!

We did 10 rounds of 3 squats at 85% of our one rep max. For me that was 70kg and it was a struggle! Some rounds felt good and other rounds I was worried I was going to drop the bar but I didn’t get a single failed rep but my technique felt a bit all over the place in some of the reps. I know that can happen with heavy weights but I did my best to make sure my technique was as good as possible. My head felt so much better once I started moving, that fog of tiredness strated to clear and a couple of rounds in I felt like myself again. I can see how it’s so tempting after a busy day at work to want to just go home because you feel exhausted but movement makes such a difference. That’s when discipline is really important in making sure you go and instead of collapsing on the sofa. Not only that, it’s a great way to be sociable and spend time with your friends. So much more fun than being at home!

The cardio piece for the evening was ten minutes of max calories on the assault bike between three people. We were only two on our bike, a guy called Craig and I, so we got a 30 second break when the third person would’ve gone. 20/30 second sprints on that bike is so incredibly tough. I felt lightheaded after we were done! It’s always a toughie trying to push hard on that thing.

I eventually made it back to the house and that’s when I crashed on the floor haha. Just cuddling Taylor for a bit until I felt like it was time to shower and then have dinner. I was so happy to have leftovers in the fridge. The last thing I felt like was trying to think of something to cook. Whilst eating I spoke to Anki for a bit to tell her about my first day. Since I moved to Australia my family and I have gotten so much better at actually calling each other. I suppose it’s tough to always stay in touch in writing so to actually make the effort to give each other a ring and speak in real time is really nice.

I crashed around ten and that was my first day of a new chapter. My working chapter here in Australia. I’m excited to see where it takes me!

The coast

There’s an Arthur’s Seat here in Australia as well!

Look at that water!

Lunch at The Holy Bean in Rosebud

Rosebud’s beach
Gonnamatta Beach 

My adventures and exploration of the Melbourne area continues! PC suggested the other day we would go for a drive down the coast and I wasn’t going to say no to an opportunity to see more of this beautiful place! It was Em, Mich, PC and myself who were all going so we packed up the car with two dogs and ourselves and away we went. I didn’t really have a clue of where we were going but I was just excited to see something different.

We droves past vineyards and farms along the way and it really took me back to the Australia I remember from visiting with my family years and years ago. The drive down was lovely. PC was pointing out all the areas along the way and telling us about them. Probably more new information for me than the others seeing as I’m the only foreigner hehe.

Our first stop along the way was at Arthur’s Seat. Yes there is apparently more than just the one in Edinburgh back home I was about to say. Well it’s sort of back home. It was my home for almost six years good old Scotland! You can get cable cars and go up and down the… I want to say mountain? Is it a mountain or a hill? I’m not quite sure. Either way the view was stunning. Unfortunately no ride in the cable cars this time around considering we had the dogs with us but I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities to do that.

We continued along the serpentiney roads down towards Rosebud, a town along the coast where we stopped for lunch at a place called The Holy Bean. They had a separate vegan menu, which was handy as three quarters of the road trip crew are vegan/eat majority vegan. I had an almond milk turmeric latte and then went for their avocado toast. The food was tasty but needed quite a lot salt and pepper. Unfortunately the beetroot relish on the side had a very bitter aftertaste. I like beetroot but that flavour at the end was not great.

After we were fed and the hunger crisis was over we headed to the beach just across the road of the café. It was stunning with white sand and the water had hints of turquoise in it. The dogs were running around like mad and one of them Rusty managed to somehow find a all the dead puffer fish along the beach. Apparently they are very poisonous so most of the time we were all keeping an eye on him to make sure he didn’t try to eat them! Crazy that I’m in a country where there are pufferfish washed ashore and fish can be poisonous. I don’t think there are any poisonous fish back home in Sweden.

Next stop before we had to head back for the gym was Gonnamatta Beach and wow, the view there was just something else. This is the kind of scenery I remember from years ago. Stunning cliffs and beautiful beaches. A view that makes you stop and you could stand there forever taking it all in. I wish we would’ve had a chance to stay for longer but time was running out and the dogs weren’t allowed out in that area.

On the way back we were playing cheesy amazing music and singing along the entire way back. It was great haha. The trip left me wanting to see more. It was a great first glance of all there is to see here in Victoria and only a couple of hours drive from Melbourne. Everyone is talking about how we’ll do more things like these once spring and summer comes and I can’t wait!

We eventually got to the gym, a bit later than usual but still managed to squeeze in three different workouts before it was time to leave. I felt a bit blaah, this week’s classes have been quite tough and my body was feeling a bit tired but I got through it all. We did a bit of double undering and walking lunges once we were done with our main workout and I managed to string together over 40 in a row consistently. Finally! We finished off with abs and I can still feel them today. I don’t very often do just ab work stuff but Em made sure we squeezed in an ab tabata session at the end and my core was on fire!

Today is Sunday and I’m on my final days in the house and with Taylor. I’m going to miss that little cutie when I move out! Today I’m paying a deposit for a room I’m renting in North Brighton for the next month. If all goes to plan I should be moving in there next Saturday.

In other exciting news, I’m starting a new job tomorrow! I know, a long time coming and I’m really excited to have something to do. Vineyard work will be happening later on in the spring so I’m looking forward to working, meeting some new people and earning some money while I’m waiting. I was invited to come along to their weekly Thursday dinner the other night and they were so lovely. It was nice to meet everyone before coming in for the first time tomorrow. I’m getting a bit nervous but I’m sure I’ll be okay. It’s always a bit scary when you’re new. I can’t wait to get to grips with everything so I can do my best possible job. I’ve been looking for so long to find something to do so I’m glad it’s finally happening.

So yes there’ll be slightly less gym hangouts and more work. I knew it was bound to happen eventually hehe. Can’t go to the gym like a crazy person forever unfortunately. It’s been amazing to have the chance to train as much as I have and to just hang out with everyone but now it’s time for change and whilst I’ll still be aiming to go every day at least it’ll be different. I think it’ll be a good change.

Time to soon get ready for Sunday track session! The weather is looking promising with the sun coming out. You never know what the means though. Last Sunday it rained every other minute and was sunny the next. Here’s hoping we stay nice and dry. I’m wondering what our coach Dave has up his sleeve for training today.

A pretty standard evening

Coming back to this after an evening in the gym isn’t all too bad! Going to miss this when I move out!

Hello my dears!  I for once behaved like an okay blogger and remembered to get some pictures from the gym yesterday evening. Em helped me out, thanks girl! We went in to do the extra cardio for the week. It was a combination of dumbbell box walk overs (or whatever you call them) and for the remaining time each round you had to get as many calories on the ski erg. Then you three minutes rest between each round. It was the first one in a while where I felt like I did alright! All the other extra cardio programming Dave has done so far I’ve felt like I’ve been dying. I suppose I like all kind of strongman/woman stuff where you pick up heavy stuff and move it hehe so dumbbells over box is something I thought was really fun.

It was over fairly quickly and then we moved on to mobility. Mobility is something I think a lot of people neglect but is so important for your training. Especially if you want to perform movements correctly then good range of movement is essential. For instance overhead squats and snatches require a lot of mobility in your body. It doesn’t matter how heavy you can lift when you can’t get your arms back properly in the bottom of the squat. With my lack of yoga in my life at the moment, remembering to at least stretch and roll out my body for a bit each session has become even more important. One of the things this week was to put some weights on the barbell and roll the barbell on your inner thigh. Ouch!! It was so painful and the faces I made were not pretty haha. I definitely don’t have a good poker face…

Once we were done with the mobility for the week I was starving. I hadn’t eaten proper lunch and I cannot cope well with life when I’m hungry. So I hung about for a bit but then had to head home and stuff my face with all the food. When I’m this hungry I eat until there is no food left. I feel like a bottomless pit and the food just runs through me! I do eventually feel full but it takes forever. Good thing I had leftovers in the fridge I could just heat up. I would not have been able to wait for any kind of food to be made at that point. I needed it urgently!

Preparation is so important and I can really see why people can struggle to cook a meal from scratch when they’re busy with work or school. Then coming straight from the gym in the evening when you just want to sit down and have a meal, it’s easy to reach for the convenient and maybe unhealthier options because they’re quick, like a ready cooked meal or a take away. All I can say is, a lot of the time it takes about the same time to make a quick healthy meal in these cases. It’s just having it available in your fridge. Veg cook quickly in a pan. Have quinoa or rice prepared and then beans, lentils, chickpeas and tofu are quick to cook too. It may feel like a chore when you just want food then and there but your body and health will thank you for it.

Then I just lied down on the carpet in front of the TV with Taylor and cuddled her for a bit before having shower. She’s just the cosiest and our evenings together are the best. She’s such a lovely dog to take care of that little old lady. Don’t know what I’ll do when I don’t have her to snuggle with every evening hehe. I’ve really missed having a dog around in my life, they’re such great company.