Eat More, Bin Less

You start the week with good intentions, stocking up on fruit and vegetables to get your daily recommended servings. Then life gets in the way. By Friday you find yourself binning not only fruit and vegetables, but excess bread, milk and eggs.

Globally, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. That’s a staggering one-third of all food produced for human consumption, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. And it doesn’t just damage our household budget, it affects the planet too.

Food in landfill

Fewer than three out of 10 of us recognise the impact food waste has on the environment. When food goes into landfill, it decomposes and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide. If you can, compost your food waste (even small balconies can accommodate a worm farm) or investigate whether your local council collects food scraps for compost. According to the FAO, home composting has the potential to divert up to 150kg of food waste per household annually.

What are we doing wrong?

1. We cook too much food.

Solution: Unless you’ll be eating the leftovers within a few days, or plan to freeze them, cook for your needs.

2. We throw out perfectly good food.

Solution: You don’t necessarily have to throw out foods as soon as they reach the ‘best-before’ date. There’s a difference between use-by dates and best-before dates. Foods stamped with a use-by date should be eaten or frozen by this date as they are more perishable. But foods with a best-before date can be eaten after this date, as they are less perishable and usually perfectly acceptable.

3. We don’t know how to use food that’s past its best

Solution: Revive wilted vegetables by plunging them in a bowl of iced water. Use them to make pesto, curry or soup, fry them up with garlic, blend them into a smoothie, or make them into a vegetable soup. Lightly cook fruit that’s gone soft, then use them to top your morning muesli or weekend pancakes, layer with natural yoghurt, make into muffins or crumbles, or use to fill a fruit tart.

4. We buy takeaways at the last minute before cooking the food we have at home

Solution: Search online for recipes that take 20 minutes or less – and plan them in advance.

5. We buy too much food.


  • check the cupboard and fridge before shopping so you don’t double up
  • shop with a meal plan and a list and stick to it,
  • only buy in bulk if you can use it before it spoils
  • don’t shop when you’re hungry, as studies show you’ll buy more food than you need.


Do we need to walk 10,000 steps a day?

It’s become something of a magic number. Walk 10,000 steps a day we’re told, to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. But can we still get fit by doing less?

Thanks to activity trackers, step counters and smart phone apps, we’re seldom in the dark about how many steps we’ve clocked up. Many of us don’t have time to fit in 10,000 steps (the equivalent of eight kilometres), and for the one in five of us who don’t reach this number, there’s some good news.

First, there’s not much science behind 10,000 steps. It was part of a marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer company in the 1060s, a way of encouraging people to increase the time they spent walking every day. Being a nice round number, the idea took off, both in Japan and across the world.

Second, our public health guidelines promote at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day. This translates to between 3,000 and 4,000 steps. The more you do, however, the more you’ll benefit, and you’ll notice improvements in your fitness as you increase your daily step count.

Pace may be just as important

As fixated as we get with reaching a target step count, our pace is just as important, says Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney's School of Public Health. "There's a big difference between doing a slow-paced 10,000 steps and a brisk walk of 7,000 steps," he told ABC online.

“To be considered moderate intensity, in general most adults need to take 100 steps per minute,” Professor Stamatakis explains.

Moderate intensity is a pace where you’re able to notice your breathing but can carry on a conversation without noticeable pauses between words. Many people think of this as a brisk walk. You’ll get even fitter if you up your pace to a vigorous intensity. This means you can talk to a friend but will be interrupted with noticeable pauses between words to take a breath. That’s about 130 steps per minute, according to Professor Stamatakis.

Tame Your Inner Critic

Is your inner bully quick to point out when you’re failing at what you’re doing? If you’re often secretly assaulted by self-doubt – that voice inside telling you you’re not good enough – know that you’re not alone, and that there are ways to turn down your internal critic.

No one gets through life without making mistakes. Or without failing, getting rejected, feeling guilty or not living up to expectations. It’s part of being human. Yet many of us will respond to these common experiences by criticising ourselves harshly.

For some of us the inner critic appears every now and again, while for others it’s a never-ending chatter of such ferocity that it undermines how we feel about ourselves and our effectiveness in life and work. This voice can be especially loud for anyone experiencing anxiety or depression.

Psychologist Sabina Read believes that we all have an internal critic. “But that doesn’t mean that the inner critic is always giving us valid messages. Often, if you’re living with symptoms of anxiety or depression that inner critic will seem louder.”

So what do you do to recognise and challenge the inner critic?

1.   Notice the negative self-talk. It’s easy to allow your mind to ruin your day, so give yourself the conscious goal of catching yourself saying negative things.

1.      2.   Don’t believe everything your inner critic is saying. Remember that your thoughts are not facts. “When the critic is on high-repeat we just take it as gospel that whatever’s being said must be the truth and we don’t stop to challenge it,” explains Ms Read. “Then there’s a reinforcing loopback because physically or emotionally our body responds, and we feel sick in the stomach and it makes us think that the fact is even more watertight.”

2.     3.   Take your thoughts to court. This means looking at the evidence for what your inner voice is saying, suggests Ms Read. “If you wandered into a courtroom and said, ‘Well, I’m just hopeless, there’s no way I’ll be able to thrive in this relationship or cope in this job’, it’s unlikely a judge and jury would accept such a sweeping statement. The legal team would say, ‘Where’s the evidence for that?’ And if there was no evidence your case would be thrown out of court.”

3.       4.   Speak to yourself with kindness. According to self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff, the antidote for self-criticism is self-compassion. This means treating and talking to yourself kindly, as you would your close friends, and accepting your imperfections along with your strengths.

4.       Self-compassion has been shown to reduce negative emotions and highly self-critical thinking across numerous studies.

5.       “Self-compassion involves valuing yourself in a deep way, making choices that lead to wellbeing in the long term,” says Neff.

Neff and Christopher Germer’s 2019 research shows that people who offer themselves self-compassion are more able to cope with tough situations like illness, divorce, and loss of job, and are more likely to engage in healthier lifestyle behaviours such as eating nutritious food and exercising.

6.       5.  Seek out your supports. When your inner critic is at its loudest, check in with a supportive friend, colleague or family member. Develop a shortlist of people you trust and can count on to offer encouragement and compassion when you need it.

7.       6.   Focus on the things you do well. If you’re constantly looking for information that confirms you’re not good enough, you’ll find it. Instead focus your attention elsewhere, on the skills you do have. It can be hard to see your own skills because they’ve been with you for so long you think everyone has them. But they don’t. Each night, write down in a journal three things you did well that day – look at these whenever your critic is particularly loud.

8.       7.   Be kind to yourself with self-care. Give yourself some time everyday for your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, schedule time to take a walk (even if it’s only for 10 minutes), read a book, go for a swim, break for a coffee, do some yoga, or practise meditation.

Stroke’s Early Warning Signs

It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. Yet how much do they really know about stroke?

Every year, over 15 million people globally suffer stroke. That person could be your friend, workmate, family member, or even yourself.


Use the FAST test

Being able to quickly identify the signs of stroke is essential, because the faster you get to hospital for treatment, the better your chance of survival and of making a good recovery.

To help you recognise stroke symptoms and act quickly, there’s a simple acronym everyone should learn, says the Stroke Foundation – the word FAST:

Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? Can they smile?

Arms: Can they lift both arms?

Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time: Is critical. If you see any of these signs call emergency services straight away.

The most common signs of stroke are facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech. But they are not only signs. Other signs that may occur alone or in combination include:

  • weakness
  • numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg
  • dizziness
  • loss of balance, or an unexplained fall
  • loss of vision
  • sudden blurring or decreased vision
  • headache, often severe and abrupt
  • difficulty swallowing

A stroke is always a medical emergency. Don’t put off calling an ambulance, even if you think you’re making a fuss over nothing, or the signs disappear within a short space of time. If you suspect stroke, no matter how long the symptoms last, call emergency services immediately. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.


Over 80% of strokes can be prevented

High blood pressure is the most important known risk factor for stroke. Reduce your risk by making time for a health check with your GP for all stroke risk factors. Take charge of your health too, by a healthy lifestyle – being active, eating well, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation.