Iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency

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Iodine deficiency

Hello Friends,


I missed blogging last week because I went to Brisbane to visit my daughters and parents. I had a fantastic time. It rained heavily the entire weekend. I love heavy rain and I love driving in heavy rain. It reminded me of driving from Darwin to Katherine once with a colleague. It was February and the Monsoon was upon us. I could barely see what was in front of me and bear in mind this was the time of unrestricted driving, meaning, no speed limit. My colleague asked if I could see the road because he couldn’t. I replied, “No, but I can feel the road.” He elected not to join me for the return drive and decided to hire a car at his own expense for the return journey the next day.

I bet you’re wondering how I went with my weight loss dream while in Brisbane and visiting my family. Gee, I ate well. But I ate sensibly, well, in my opinion, I ate sensibly.

Weekend food highlights

I flew up on Friday evening and decided to only eat the chicken in the chicken curry that was served as a meal on my flight. I left the rice behind.

Chicken curry

iodine deficiency

🐓 Sorry for the crappy photo

On Saturday morning, I took Ms22 and Ms20 to breakfast to Cafe 63 in Chermside and enjoyed a big hearty breakfast of pork sausages, BBQ pork belly, bacon, beef, hash brown (I ate one of two), scrambled eggs, and a grilled tomato. I left the toast behind.

Cafe 63 big breakfast

iodine deficiency
BBQ pork belly, bacon, beef burger, pork sausage, hash browns and eggs

At lunchtime on Saturday, Ms20, Miss16 and I went to the Sandgate Fishmonger and I had a piece of grilled cod along with one of two crumbed squid tentacles.

Sandgate Fishmonger grilled cod

iodine deficiency
Grilled cod 🐟

For dinner, I took my parents along with Ms22 and Ms20 to Motto Motto in Chermside. It’s an interesting Japanese restaurant. Sort of fast food, order at the counter, speedy food service, eat and leave. I had a bowl of seared salmon, avocado, green salad leaves and Teriyaki sauce. I also had a side of two soft shelled crabs. I also managed to snag a piece of karaage chicken, a Teriyaki chicken wing and a pork gyoza dumpling.

Motto Motto seared salmon and avocado with soft shelled crabs

iodine deficiency
Seared salmon and avocado and salad
iodine deficiency
Seared salmon and avocado and salad

iodine deficiency

After dinner, Dad treated us all to a gelato. This is the first gelato or ice cream I’ve had in months. Gee, it tasted good. I licked that vanilla creaminess like to was the most important thing in my life.


iodine deficiency
Vanilla gelato

On Sunday, I was able to enjoy breakfast with Ms22, Ms20, and Miss16. We went to Hermosa in Chermside. I constructed my breakfast by asking for bacon, poached eggs, wilted spinach and avocado. The avocado was coated with seeds and crushed nuts and was really very nice.

iodine deficiency
Poached eggs, bacon, avocado and wilted spinach

All in all, I ate well on the weekend. When I weighed in on Monday morning I wasn’t shattered with the result.

See for yourself in the chart below.

Weight chart

iodine deficiency

Canberra is continuing to crush salmonella but not in a good way

iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency

On Tuesday night I attended a monthly meeting of medical officers who work in the Australian Government Department of Health. Our guest speaker was Prof. Creswell Eastman, AM. Prof. Eastman is a legend. He is best known for a lifetime of work on iodine deficiency and the role iodine plays in a person’s intellectual development. He’s shown time and again the problems of iodine deficiency not only in Australia but also in China including Tibet.

Check out my Twitter feed.

Click on the tweet and you should be able to follow the lecture from my Tweets.

I learned that in China, Prof. Eastman assisted the people by igniting the government into making a humungous change and iodise the salt which rapidly raised the intelligence quotient of millions of Chinese people living in remote and rural settings. Reducing iodine deficiency is the key.

I also learnt that at the time, Tibet became an unintended control group. There were villages in Tibet where the majority of people had goitres, cretinism still occurred and in addition to intellectual retardation, growth retardation also occurred. Prof. Eastman went in and assisted the locals by introducing iodised oil. The effect was dramatic by reducing iodine deficiency.

What Prof. Eastman also revealed was the population problems in terms of poor intellectual development in Australia. His collaborators used the much-maligned NAPLAN process to compare intellectual development in Australian children.  His group discovered that some time ago the Australian dairy industry made a decision to change milk vat disinfection from iodophors to chlorine without telling anyone. This had the effect of reducing the available iodine in dairy products. Iodine is inimical to bacterial growth so it was a fabulous disinfectant.

In addition, there has been a general move to reduce salt intake and to not add salt to food. While there is nothing wrong with that, instead of buying and using good old-fashioned iodised cooking salt people started following cooking fads and started to buy sea salt and rock salt and sadly Himalayan rock salt. I say sadly because that Himalayan salt, according to Prof. Eastman is murky and dirty looking because of the presence of noxious trace metals that don’t do anything positive for our health. The bottom line was that the little added salt people did use was not iodised and possibly had harmful effects.

Iodised salt is used in bread but with so many people eschewing bread because they believe they have a gluten intolerance (rather than having fair dinkum cœliac disease, this had led to a further reduction in iodine in our diets.

Prof. Eastman’s advice is that pregnant women in Australia should supplement their diets as soon after conception as possible with iodine. The risk of not doing this is having a child who may be a slow learner and all the consequences of that.

If you want a salty recipe you can use iodised salt for, check out this great looking pork crackling on Yummy Lummy.


Should Australia celebrate Thanksgiving?

When you look up Wikipedia and search for Thanksgiving it’s a revelation to see just how widespread thanksgiving celebration is.

While I know a lot of Australians resent following Americana on everything I wonder if we should spread the message that Thanksgiving could also be an Australian holiday but for different reasons when compared with our American friends. If we did it correctly we could do something to ameliorate the angst associated with Australia Day and the concerns expressed by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who consider 26 January to be what they regard as “invasion day”, that is the day the British arrived and began colonising Australia. I think we should still mark Australia Day (26 January) as an important day but we wouldn’t need a public holiday. We could transfer the public holiday to Thanksgiving which could be celebrated on another day. Thanksgiving could be a day to celebrate reconciliation.

Here is where I reckon we should look at the American tradition and use a specific day of the week, e.g, the third Friday of January every year. This way the public holiday isn’t ‘wasted’ on a Saturday or Sunday and we get a long weekend. Another possible day would be the second Tuesday of November so while the Victorians are having fun getting pissed at a horse race, the rest of Australia could enjoy some nice seafood and a mixed grill on the barbie followed by a pavlova. Morning tea could be filled with vanilla slices (bloody Victorians call them snot blocks) and lamingtons. After lunch, people would have time without affecting the national productivity to watch the horserace and waste the arvo drinking grog so by dinner time they can sober up and get ready for work the next day.

When Australia becomes a republic I want to run for President on a platform a long weekend every month.

I did not know that Thanksgiving is celebrated on Norfolk Island.

What do you reckon? Should we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia?

Black and white

So if you’re on Facebook and/or Instagram you’ll have probably seen if not participated in the black and white challenge. It’s been fun shooting a photograph every day editing it to black and white and then posting it to Instagram and then out to Facebook and Twitter.

I wouldn’t say these photographs are any good but it was fun. The idea is not to include people you know and you don’t provide any explanation as to why you shot the photograph.

This is a gallery. Click on one photograph and then scroll through each image.

This week on the Medical Fun Facts Podcast

This week I talk about scabies. The show will drop on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time. I’m trying something different. Rather than a ‘fake video’ I’ve produced an Apple Keynote slideshow with a voiceover. This will be available on YouTube (also on Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time).

YouTube thumbnail for Monday’s show

iodine deficiency

Have you ever experienced stalled weight loss?

Weight chart at Sunday 12 November 2017. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum.

Have you ever experienced stalled weight loss?

So I’ve experienced stalled weight loss. I started trying to lose weight at the beginning of October by eliminating bread, rice and pasta from my diet. I also stopped milk in my coffee and haven’t added sugar to anything except for the occasional sauce like the Sichuan Teriyaki dipping sauce from last week. I haven’t changed my intake of vegetables or fruit, except that I haven’t been eating potatoes. It’s been great enjoying mangoes and avocados.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve experienced stalled weight loss and haven’t been able to continue the steady decline that I had been enjoying. I know that so-called experts say daily weighing is not useful but I have an obsessive personality so I like to measure my mass, blood pressure and pulse rate. I managed to breach 83 kilograms last week and I’ve touched 83.0 kilograms twice. I need to get below that and keep going.

Photograph of weight chart up today

Weight chart at Sunday 12 November 2017. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum.
Weight chart on Sunday 12 November 2017

The answer is obviously to keep avoiding sugar and other carbohydrates but I also need to reduce the portion sizes. one of my downfalls is my love of nuts. Yesterday, I went to see Thor: Ragnarok at the local Hoyts cinema. I booked a seat in the theatre with an extreme screen and reclining seats. I knew I’d want a snack. To avoid choc tops and popcorn, I bought a bag of salted Queensland nuts. I love Queensland nuts. I’ve been eating almonds and Queensland nuts over the last couple of weeks and it’s been difficult to only eat a small number because they are so moreish.

Thor: Ragnarok (with spoilers)

What a fun movie that was. It was really very funny and much more casual than previous Thor and Avenger movies. It was also good to see Thor get a haircut.

It was nice to hear Australian and New Zealand accents throughout the movie.

Photograph from inside the cinema

Nope, I wouldn’t breach the copyright 😂

Hoyts Thor Cinema 5. What a great movie! Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum
Hoyts Thor Cinema 5. What a great movie!

2 Yummy Super Tasty Boneless Duck

After the movie, I walked over to 2 Yummy and got myself some Super Tasty Boneless Duck which is on the Chef’s specials list. The duck from 2 Yummy is really nice. I brought the duck back to the flat and stir-fried some coleslaw with butter and added a little cream to finish it off. The combination was indeed super tasty. Read my review of 2 Yummy.

Photograph of duck and stir-fried coleslaw

2 Yummy super tasty boneless duck with stir-fried creamy coleslaw. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum.
2 Yummy super tasty boneless duck with stir-fried creamy coleslaw.

Photographs from this last week

Click on one of the photographs and then please scroll through the gallery. You can also read the comments.

You can probably see why I’ve experienced a stalled weight loss.

Podcast earworms

Regular readers know just how much I enjoy listening to podcasts. Two of my favourites are Mouthy Broadcast and Dork Trek. This week’s shows have left earworms in my head. The common factor between these two podcasts is Jennie Zell.

If you don’t mind some explicit language and NSFW themes, feel free to listen to both shows.

Slowly roasted pulled lamb meat from lamb bones

While I’ve been using my Tupperware Micro Pressure Cooker a lot, these lamb bones needed slow roasting.

Lamb bones ready for slow roasting with smokey BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum.
Lamb bones ready for slow roasting with smokey BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock.
Pulled lamb after slow roasting. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum
Pulled lamb after slow roasting
Slowly roasted pulled lamb meat from lamb bones served with coleslaw. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum.
Slowly roasted pulled lamb meat from lamb bones served with coleslaw

I desire mutton flaps

This week on The Medical Fun Facts Podcast

I’m talking about Q fever and its ætiological agent, viz., Coxiella burnetii.

The show drops at 7 pm Monday night Canberra time.

I’d love it if you subscribed so you get an e-mail each time a new show drops.

The Medical Fun Facts Podcast episode 92, Q fever. Stalled weight loss. Gary Lum.
The Medical Fun Facts Podcast episode 92, Q fever.

Final thoughts

I hope you enjoy the week to come. Let me know if you have any ideas for helping me keep my weight loss going. My aim is to stabilise around 77 kilograms.

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog, I’d love it if you subscribed so you get an e-mail each time I write a new post.

Other posts you may enjoy reading

Weight loss challenges when travelling

Four weeks and four kilograms

Is my drawing getting any better?

Podcasts I listen to while walking, driving and working around the flat


A story about Sichuan dipping sauce

Always Think fungus Gary Lum

A story about Sichuan dipping sauce

Have you heard of or made Sichuan dipping sauce? Apparently, it’s a big deal in McDonald’s restaurants in the USA. I was recently listening to the Broads at Mouthy Broadcast and the introduction to episode 174 (warning NSFW humour, some triggers and explicit language) was about the furore from fans of the TV cartoon show, Rick and Morty who were going insane over getting some of their favourite chicken McNuggets (hereafter known as Nugs) dipping sauce. Apparently, someone gave away a car for a packet of the dipping sauce. People were queueing for the dipping sauce. I mean, I’ll line up at a good restaurant, but I can’t imagine lining up for a dipping sauce to dip my Nugs in, no matter how good it makes my nugs taste.

I’m not very familiar with Rick and Morty; as far as I know, it wasn’t a big deal on TV in Australia (if I’m wrong, please let me know). I did a little searching in Google and in one episode (check out the YouTube video) Rick starts on about Sichuan dipping sauce for his Nugs.

Plugging the Broads

If you want to hear what the Broads had to say, visit their website and you can play the audio from the webpage. If you like what you hear, then please subscribe. The more subscribers they get, the more likely it is they will stay podcasting. If you like them and their NSFW ribald humour, you may like to become a Patreon Patron. For as little as a few cups of coffee a year, you get to see them record the show every two weeks. I have to say, watching Jennie, Lauren and Peter do their stuff adds so much to the aural experience. You might ask, why am I plugging this podcast? Well, the fact is, I’ve become quite friendly with the broads and some other podcasters who are all based in the USA. It’s been a bit of a revelation to develop some online friendships with some genuinely nice people who all have a similar nerdy geeky sense of humour.

The dipping sauce

I’ll post the recipe over at Yummy Lummy soon, but basically, I used the recipe from My Recipes with some minor modifications.

The sauce tasted pretty good. I didn’t have any nugs so instead, I used roasted pork rashers which in my opinion are better than nugs although Jennie would probably disagree given her passion for Macca’s nugs.

Sichuan dipping sauce in the saucepan Gary Lum
Sichuan dipping sauce in the saucepan
Sichuan dipping sauce poured hot from the saucepan Gary Lum
Sichuan dipping sauce poured hot from the saucepan
Pork rashers ready for the oven Gary Lum
Pork rashers ready for the oven
Pork rashers and Sichuan dipping sauce Gary Lum
Pork rashers and Sichuan dipping sauce

What else happened this week?

Work was work, but outside of work, I had fun using my new Tupperware® cookware. The Tupperware® Micro Pressure Cooker and Tupperware® UltraPro are great. I made a nice fast pork rasher dish in the pressure cooker and combined microwave oven and conventional oven cooking in the UltraPro with a chicken thigh dish.

Weight loss update

So I stalled a little this week. There was no actual drop in weight but no sustained increase.

This week’s weight chart update

This week's Weight chart Gary Lum

Think fungus

A specialist friend I work with on Fridays brought me a present from a medical mycology workshop she attended last week. I tease her regularly about liking moist yeasty goodness.

Always Think fungus Gary Lum
Always Think fungus

I learnt something new

I never realised there is an international standard for dental notation. I was authorising a result on Friday and a faciomaxillary surgeon had referred to us a specimen from an abscess at 37/38. It puzzled me because most adults have 32 permanent teeth and I had no idea what the notation 37/38 meant. After looking up dental notation I found a wikipedia page which described ISO 3950 which is the dental notation standard.

Dental notation
Dental notation

Here’s a cute cow to look at

Cute cow on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Cute cow on Lake Ginninderra

This week on the Medical Fun Facts Podcast

This Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time, episode 91 drops. The topic is Pathology. I recommend listening to this one. Here why I have a passion for Pathology. Sign up so you never miss an episode.

MFF0091 Pathology

Awesome cloud porn

This one looks like a tardigrade

Cloud porn that looks like a tardigrade from Star Trek Discovery Gary Lum
Cloud porn that looks like a tardigrade from Star Trek Discovery

Other posts you may like to read

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

Is my drawing getting any better?


Four weeks and four kilograms

Weight chart Gary Lum four kilograms

Four weeks and four kilograms

In the last four weeks, I’ve lost four kilograms. So far so good, but I must remain diligent. My goal weight is 77 kg, so I have another six kilograms to go. My aim is to get slightly under that and then stabilise around the 77 kg mark. At 77 kg, I won’t huff and puff when walking around the lake, I’ll be able to tackle stairs more easily and I will be able to fit in my business shirts more easily.

Weight chart Gary Lum four kilograms
Weight chart

After losing four kilograms, I’ve already noticed that my trousers are more comfortable; getting in and out of my car is more comfortable and I can wear a necktie more comfortably. Sleeping has also been easier, although; I’ve been experiencing the odd night of insomnia. I don’t know why. I’ve got a bit on my mind at the moment but nothing life-threatening.

It’s reassuring that I can tighten my belt without feeling uncomfortable all day. Wearing a suit is also much more comfortable sans four kilograms. This last week I needed to wear a suit to attend senate estimate hearings at Parliament House over two days. It’s been a long time since I felt comfortable wearing a suit.

How am I losing weight? Four kilograms so far.

As I’ve written before I’m modifying a low carbohydrate way of living. No bread, no rice, no pasta, no added sugar to anything, but I’m still eating vegetables and fruit. For example, last Saturday I enjoyed nude wonton soup and then on Sunday had yuk biang.

The fruit is mainly for a dessert treat. Mangoes are a great treat at this time of year. I’ve also added some slices of pear to some of the salads I’ve been making.

How about exercise?

Yea, well, there hasn’t been a lot of that. I’ve been busy with work, and when I did this while living in Darwin, I began daily walks when I’d reached my goal weight as a means to stabilise. I hope to do the same now that the mornings are getting warmer.

Are there any new cooking ideas?

Well yes, there is, at least a couple of techniques I can easily describe.

Non-Asian stir-fry

The first is to stir-fry but not using Asian foods or ingredients. For example, I’m a fan of tightly shredded cabbage, sliced green beans, sweet corn, sliced asparagus, sliced bird’s eye chillies, tomatoes, sliced celery plus lots of chilli flakes. In a wok, I melt butter until it foams and then add the vegetables. I wait until the cabbage and tomato have softened and lost shape and then add a splash of cream and allow the liquid to reduce to a nice spicy sauce that coats all the vegetables. To this, I’ll serve it with whatever meat I’m preparing for that evening. Lately, it’s been chicken thighs roasted in a moderately hot (200 °C/400 °F) oven for one hour. When I have salmon, I dice it raw and add it at the end of stir frying my vegetables in the buttery cream sauce.

Microwave oven pressure cooking

You will have read previously that I’ve recently purchased some Tupperware®, included in my recent purchases is a Microwave Oven pressure cooker. I made a lamb forequarter curry in less than half an hour. Doing something similar without a pressure cooker would take hours of slow cooking to get the lamb forequarter meat soft enough to fall off the bone. You can find the recipe over at Yummy Lummy.

Lamb red curry in coconut cream
Close-up of Lamb red curry in coconut cream

What’s the next big challenge?

Tomorrow at work there is a Halloween bake-off. There will be lots of cakes and sweet treats. We have a regular bake-off event to raise money for charity and also for a work Christmas function. Tomorrow may have to be a ‘cheat day’.

Photograph gallery

Please feel free to check out all the photographs.

What’s happening on Medical Fun Facts this week?

MFF Episode 90 Oncology

I’m talking about oncology and cancer. I also do a public service announcement on phallic health and hygiene, along with a shout out to some fellow podcasters.

The show drops at 7 pm Monday night Canberra time. 

MFF0090 Thumbnail Gary Lum four kilograms
MFF0090 Thumbnail

Weight loss challenges when travelling

Owl statue, Belconnen Gary Lum

Weight loss challenges when travelling

Weight loss and travel don’t always go well together, especially when the itinerary and program is out of your control. This week saw me chairing an all-day meeting on Tuesday in Canberra, speaking at a scientific conference on Wednesday in Hobart, and attending a stakeholder community committee meeting on Thursday in Melbourne. Each event had catered food and beverages. Most of the time the food at these things will consist of sandwiches or wraps and occasionally there might be a hot treat like a party pie or sausage roll or even a deep fried spring roll. Morning tea, if it’s available is often a muffin or if you’re lucky scones with cream and jam. The beverages that are usually on offer are black tea and coffee with the ready availability of milk. Sometimes fruit juice or a carbonated soft drink will be available too. More often than not the ‘juice’ is high in sugar, low in fibre and contains only about 35% juice. The carbonated soft drinks tend to be full of sugar too.

People with dietary needs like a vegetarian or vegan can usually be accommodated and these days gluten-free and dairy-free options are more readily available. What isn’t as obvious are options for people who are reducing the amount of bread, pasta and rice in their diet who also eschew added sucrose as well as complex carbohydrates.

On Tuesday, the meeting was in Canberra so I was able to bring in a cold piece of chicken. I roasted some chicken thighs the night before and brought one in. I ignored the scones for morning tea because the scrambled eggs I ate for breakfast had me happily sated. On the flights that evening to Hobart via Melbourne I was able to pick out leafy salad greens and eat some small chunks of chicken from the meal.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed a hotel breakfast of eggs and bacon with no toast so that worked well. I had to eat something at the airport for lunch and bought some ham and cheese. I got home in time to make a light supper of leftover minced beef and eggs.

Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce, Wrest Point, Hobart Gary Lum weight loss
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce, Wrest Point, Hobart
View from dining room, Wrest Point, Hobart Gary Lum
View from dining room, Wrest Point, Hobart

On Thursday, I was awake at 4.30 and had a 6.30 flight to Melbourne so I chose to buy some bacon and eggs at the airport. The meeting I attended had a catered lunch and this was my ‘cheat’ meal. I had a mini-bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese along with one deep fried spring roll with a little sweet chilli sauce.

Canberra Airport bacon and scrambled eggs Gary Lum weight loss
Canberra Airport bacon and scrambled eggs

A food competition to beat all food competitions

I was recently invited to join a Facebook group whose members include quite a few podcasting friends who are all USA-based. They were all engaged in this really compelling food competition. Everyone picks one food. During the first week of competition, everyone must eat one serving of that food once a day. In the second week of competition, everyone must eat two servings each day. The third week of competition, everyone must eat three servings each day. By this time people may start to drop out especially if inappropriate choices were made like bowls of ice cream. In the fourth week, it’s four servings each day. When the contest stretches beyond that, it escalates so the changes occur daily. Five servings, then the next day six servings, then the next day seven servings and on and on it goes. People have chosen foods like pineapple (1 cup), salad (1 cup), scones (or what American friends call biscuits) (1 normal size scone), eggs (eaten any way) (1 egg), chicken, rolled oats (1 cup), strawberries (1 cup) and even broccoli (1 cup). This year there were three people left at about day 38 (L had strawberries, A had salad and F had eggs). That’s when A stopped because she couldn’t be bothered buying salad anymore. At day 40, L conceded to F when she realised she had spent $USD60 on strawberries that week (that’s nearly $AUD100)! On day 40 L needed to eat 17 cups of strawberries and F had to eat 17 eggs. At one stage, L had a hiccough and to let her back in she had to complete the JT Challenge with JT being the initials of a challenger who last year ate eggs but because he wanted to go on a date with his girlfriend stopped one day. To let him back in, he had to eat 12 eggs in an hour. So this year L had to complete the JTC and she had to eat 12 cups of strawberries in one go. She live-streamed the event and she was absolutely amazing.

There are obviously some drawbacks to this competitions. One competitor this year who chose rolled oats quickly found how effective oats are for bowel regularity and was spending significant time in the toilet. Last year, L chose pineapple and fully appreciated the action of the natural digestive enzymes in a pineapple when she developed what is affectionately known as pineapple herpes.

I’m not sure who will manage next year’s competition, but I’m tempted to join in the fun. The question is, what food should I choose? It has to be a regular serving so it can’t be something silly like a handful of sultanas. It would need to be something like a ½ cup of sultanas or dried apricots or something like that. This year, L and F got to day 40, 17 serves in a day. I don’t know what I could eat 17 of in one day.

What food would you choose?

How can I focus on weight loss during such a competition? I’d have to choose a protein, but eating so much protein would be really filling.

What other fun stuff happened this week?

I had my performance review at the hospital for my honorary position and I completed compulsory training in fire, emergency and security plus working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Weekend fun

So, after the usual washing, ironing, cleaning and grocery shopping plus a walk around Lake Ginninderra, I had a bit of fun cooking this weekend. You can see my efforts at making nude wonton and hairy melon at my food blog. I had enough leftover to put in the pressure cooker for dinner tonight which I will eat with lettuce leaves. These meals are low in sugar and hopefully help with weight loss as I have some for lunches this week too.

Lake Ginninderra in HDR Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra in HDR
Nude wonton ready for mixing Gary Lum weight loss
Nude wonton ready for mixing

Click on this photograph and check out the recipe

Nude wonton and hairy melon Gary Lum weight loss
Nude wonton and hairy melon

This morning I had breakfast at Ricardo’s cafe and patisserie and enjoyed a nice smoked salmon and poached eggs dish. On my walk there I came across some interesting street art on the road nearby.

Wood fungus on the way to breakfast Gary Lum
Wood fungus on the way to breakfast
Street art while out walking Gary Lum
Street art while out walking

My smoked salmon and poached eggs breakfast. Not really weight loss friendly

Ricardo’s smoked salmon and poached eggs Gary Lum weight loss
Ricardo’s smoked salmon and poached eggs
Owl statue, Belconnen Gary Lum
Owl statue, Belconnen

The Medical Fun Facts Podcast

This afternoon I recorded episode 89 of my podcast. This week’s show is on norovirus and norovirus infection. I have a lighthearted dig at cruise ships which I think of as floating buckets of vomit and faeces.

The show drops at 7 pm Monday Canberra time

If you want an e-mail each time the show drops sign up

So how is the weight loss going?

This week’s chart shows steady loss

Leftover prawns, pork and water chestnuts

Photographs of pressure cooker ‘steamed’ pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf

Pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf Gary Lum weight loss
Pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf
Close up of pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf Gary Lum weight loss
Close up of pressure cooker steamed pork, prawns and water chestnut loaf

Other posts you may like to read

An interesting observation after reducing my sugar intake

Getting back into diet coke


Getting back into diet coke

Cow in Ginninderra Gary Lum Diet Coke

Diet coke and weight loss

I haven’t let a drop of Diet Coke pass my lips since Good Friday this year when I broke a tooth gnawing on a beef rib. I’m regularly reminded that Coca-Cola is bad for the enamel of my teeth and when that tooth broke and I knew it would be weeks before I could get it repaired I figured I should lay off the black stuff.

After the tooth was repaired, I’d been off Diet Coke for more than a month and hadn’t really missed it. So until last week, I hadn’t touched a drop.

What has changed?

Well, the major change has been my determination to lose weight. Even though I had stopped drinking Diet Coke I was still drinking other soft drinks (or what friends in North America call soda or pop). For example, every day I was enjoying a 375 mL can of Solo or Sprite. When I decided a couple of weeks ago to stop consuming food and drink with added sugar I did what I had done before which included chewing sugar-free gum and increasing my water intake plus drinking more black tea and black coffee. Years ago when I was motivated to lose nearly 23 kilograms, one of the mainstays of my diet was sipping a can of Diet Coke each day. It helped with the cravings for sugar. So whether I like it or not, for the time being Diet Coke is part of my weight loss strategy.

Weight chart Gary Lum Diet coke

So, this week, I took my first sip of Diet Coke in months. It was good. I enjoyed it. I’m now a Diet Coke consumer again.

What else has happened this week?

Work has been enjoyable and the Canberra weather has been improving in terms of daily maximum temperatures, I wish the humidity would move along with it but sadly it remains dry.

Thursday marked fifteen years since the 2002 Bali Bombings and I noticed the NT News posted a photograph that I was in.

Yesterday I managed a walk around Lake Ginninderra and enjoyed getting up and personal with a cow. I also saw what I think are some Australasian darters. I wasn’t able to get that close to them, the birds were high in the branches of a tree.

Cow in Ginninderra Gary Lum Diet Coke
Cow in Ginninderra
Darters in Ginninderra Gary Lum Diet Coke
Darters in Ginninderra

Best salad ever

Last night for dinner I made a really nice scallop and chilli bacon salad. Hopefully more salad will help with weight loss.

Scallop and chilli bacon salad with cabbage, lettuce, green beans, spring onions and bird’s eye chillies Diet Coke Gary Lum
Scallop and chilli bacon salad with cabbage, lettuce, green beans, spring onions and bird’s eye chillies

Bacon and poached egg

For breakfast this morning, I poached an egg. It’s not something I do very often. I’m pretty hopeless but I want to get better at doing it. I think every weekend I’m going to poach eggs until I get it right.

Crispy streaky bacon and a poached egg Diet Coke Gary Lum
Crispy streaky bacon and a poached egg

Tupperware® Party

Last week I wrote a review of the Tupperware® FusionSystem mincer and today I attended a Tupperware® party.

My friend at work who is a Tupperware® consultant arranged with another friend at work to host a Tupperware® party. I had a good time. I ate pizza and self-saucing Cherry Ripe pudding. So much sugar, so many carbohydrates. I now feel bloated and full and on a sugar high. Sadly this won’t help with weight loss 😜

I bought a small microwave steaming container in an auction and got a citrus peeler and funnel as free gifts. I will now proceed to order an ice shaver module which will fit on the FusionSystem Mincer.

Tupperware Diet Coke Gary Lum

I like Tupperware® parties. This is my fifth. I think I’ve been the only bloke at each party!

The Medical Fun Facts Podcast

Monday night’s show is about the Measles virus and measles. This week, the show will only be posted to the new website and not to the old website. I hope I don’t lose too many listeners and subscribers. If you want to subscribe to the e-mail newsletter and never miss an episode here is the link.

Medical Fun facts Measles virus Diet Coke Gary Lum
Click on the Thumbnail to be taken to the website

The show will drop Monday at 7 pm Canberra time.

I hope you have a good week. Feel free to subscribe to this blog so you never miss a post at this link.

15 years and 15 kilograms on…Bali Bombings 2002

Chief Minister Clare Martin, Dr Len Notaras and me on 14 October 2002 outside Royal Darwin Hospital Gary Lum

15 years and 15 kilograms on…from the Bali Bombings 2002

Fifteen years ago today terrorists detonated bombs in and near a nightclub in Kuta, Bali. I was 15 kilograms heavier then. The Bali Bombings 2002 terrorists and their support network and their evil ideology killed 202 people, 88 of whom were Australian. More people were injured and many have been left with permanent scars and disabilities. When I see former patients from the Royal Darwin Hospital on TV I can still remember of them and the condition they were in when they arrived.

The good news is the terrorists were executed (I do not write this lightly). The relationship between Australia and Indonesia is stronger (this is a good thing). We have the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre which is a shining example of how to set up a centre of excellence for trauma and critical care (this is an excellent thing). Sadly the evil terrorist support network still exists and the evil ideology behind persists (this sucks).

I hope the NT News doesn’t mind that I’ve posted a photograph from today’s issue in this blog post.

Chief Minister Clare Martin, Dr Len Notaras and me (Gary Lum) doing a media interview in October 2002 in the wake of the Bali bombings 2002
Chief Minister Clare Martin, Dr Len Notaras and me

I’ve shared a few e-mails today with my good friend, Prof. Len Notaras, AM about what happened back then. Back then I was 100 kg and now I’m 85 kg, so 15 years and 15 kilograms…

I hope a similar disaster never occurs again. I wish the world was a safer and more peaceful place. Sadly in the history of sapiens, we’ve spent more time in conflict than in peace. I truly hope we evolve more rapidly into peace-keeping people so this sort of barbarism can be a thing for us to read in history books.

If you want to read my memory of what happened please check out this link The Royal Darwin Hospital and the Bali Bombings 2002. It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since the Bali Bombings 2002.

Chief Minister Clare Martin, Dr Len Notaras and me on 14 October 2002 outside Royal Darwin Hospital in the wake of the Bali Bombings 2002 Gary Lum
Chief Minister Clare Martin, Dr Len Notaras and me on 14 October 2002 outside Royal Darwin Hospital (Photograph from the NT News 12 October 2017.


An interesting observation after reducing my sugar intake

I made an interesting observation after reducing my sugar intake this last week. While I’m not about to discuss weight loss after a week, I have noticed I don’t feel as bloated and my trousers and belt don’t feel as uncomfortable. There’s also less farting and my stools aren’t as loose.

Lifestyle change

I’m not suggesting for a moment that I’m advocating for any particular lifestyle change. I know with my concerns about irritable bowel syndrome, my weight gain and a desire to take better care of myself it would be easy to start looking at various popular lifestyle trends like low FODMAP, Paleo and Atkins.

I’ve previously gone full Atkins and had a pretty stunning result with a weight loss from 100 kg to 77 kg in less than a year. I kept it off for about 5 years but last week when I weighed myself I saw that I was close to 90 kg and if I kept on eating the way I was not only would I proceed to >90 kg but I’d feel crap with it.

Abdominal bloating

The abdominal discomfort was getting to be too much. My belt was feeling too tight. My trousers were feeling very uncomfortable in all the wrong places. My shirts were getting tight in the wrong places too.

The last thing I wanted to do was buy a new wardrobe. Business trousers and shirts are very expensive and buying a size up would mean a minimum of two pairs of trousers and five shirts. At least it’s spring, so buying a new suit could potentially be delayed. No, the better option is to make an effort to lose weight. This is what I will do.

Diet changes

This week I changed to black coffee. I ate no bread. I ate no rice. I ate no porridge and I didn’t have anything with sugar added to it. I’ve been tempted by soft drink but I’ve resisted by chewing sugar-free chewing gum. I’ve increased the amount of fruit in my diet and it’s been a pleasant sweet treat. My meat intake has increased especially chicken. I’ve also increased the amount of cheese in my diet but I’ve tried to be careful not to overdo it.

What I have significantly increased is the volume of vegetables like lettuce and cabbage and especially Savoy cabbage. Savoy cabbage is particularly good because I can shred it finely and then cross cut it. The cabbage remains crisp and crunchy.

Cabbage is also really good boiled. When boiled with some stock, it takes up the flavours nicely.

Eggs have also become a feature of my daily ‘bread’. Boiled, fried, scrambled and cooked as an omelette.

No added sugar is how I must persist.

Charting change

One of the things I like to do when focusing on my health is to chart or record data. To this end, I’ve started a daily spreadsheet recording weight, blood pressure, heart rate and steps.

While most authorities recommend against daily weight measurement, I like to do it.

Weight chart

Tupperware® FusionMaster Mincer Review

To help vary my meat intake I’ve purchased a Tupperware® FusionMaster System Mincer. I wrote a review for it today after making some beef and blue cheese mince burgers. No sugar in these burgers.

I’d love it if you signed up and received Yummy Lummy posts by e-mail.

Tupperware® mince grinder Gary Lum
Tupperware® mince grinder

How is The Medical Fun Facts Podcast move going?

The move mentioned in the last post is now complete and on Monday 9 October, the last post will occur on the old site and all future posts will occur on the new site.

I’d love it if you signed up for the newsletter.

Tomorrow night a show on Legionnaires’ disease will drop at 7 pm Canberra time.

So what have I eaten this week?

Here is a gallery. You can click on one photograph and a gallery will pop up. You can then scroll through the photographs and let me know which ones looked the most appetising. There’s not much sugar in these dishes.

I’d love it if you would sign up for each new blog post.

Other posts you may enjoy



A Kransky for your thoughts


How to spend a spring long weekend in Canberra?

Be kind to your anus The Medical Fun Facts Podcast Gary Lum

Why do we have a long weekend?

It’s been a fine and mild long weekend in Canberra. For readers from distant shores, some states and at least the Australian Capital Territory (apart from the greatest Australian territory, viz., the Northern Territory of Australia) are enjoying a public holiday on Monday while Victoria enjoyed a public holiday on Friday. I don’t even know why Canberra (Australian Capital Territory) has a Monday public holiday (I probably should look that up!). I know in Queensland it is labour day which is odd given it is usually gazetted to coincide with the first day of May (to celebrate my birthday I assume). In Victoria, Friday was a public holiday so AFL fans could watch a parade in the streets of Melbourne.

AFL grand final

The AFL grand final is held on a Saturday (yesterday) while the NRL grand final is held on a Sunday (today). A Melbourne team, viz., Richmond Tigers defeated the Adelaide Crows. I didn’t watch the game, I was binge watching Star Trek The Next Generation. That said, I’ve told a friend that next year I may take an interest in AFL just to expand my horizons. My aim is to follow the Chinese Suns from the Gold Coast, my number two team will be the Brisbane Lions and my number three team will be Carlton. Obviously, there is a Queensland connection with the first two and I chose Carlton because one of my best friends is a supporter.

Who knows, this time next year when enjoying a long weekend, I may watch both the NRL and AFL grand final games.

NRL grand final

The greatest game of all

While my team, the Brisbane Broncos, were defeated last Friday night by the Melbourne Storm, my number two team, the North Queensland Cowboys, made it to tonight’s grand final game after defeating the Sydney Roosters. I am hoping for a Cowboys victory. If they lose, however, I won’t be greatly disappointed because the Storm is my number three team given their players form the core the mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons. It’s nice not having a Sydney team in the NRL grand final.

Man flu

The weather in Canberra has been remarkably mild. I wouldn’t say warm, but not cold and there haven’t been too many clouds in the sky. Not that I’ve been able to enjoy the weather. You see, since returning from Bendigo I’ve been feeling unwell. Crook is a better description. I have a dreaded lurgy, a wog, you know, man flu. That most maligned of all ailments. I’ve been rendered inactive with a mild fever, a constant low-level headache, sore joints and a nose that runs for hours and is then overtaken with nasal congestion which makes breathing feel like hard labour. To be fair to Bendigo, I did manage to get out to see Floriade before Man Flu took over.

Squarespace to

So, what have I been doing? I’ve been resting and drinking large quantities of water and other liquids. I’ve also spent days manually copying and pasting material from one website to another in the absence of an easy to use export function from the Squarespace platform to the platform.

The Medical Fun Facts Podcast

My podcast, Medical Fun Facts has been hosted on a Squarespace website for the last couple of years. Squarespace isn’t a bad platform but it isn’t as flexible as or So what I’ve done is to copy over the blog posts from to Even though I’m only talking about 84 posts, this task took days to accomplish. It wasn’t just the text but it was also photographs and audio files. The biggest risk with this move is hoping both Apple and Stitcher approve my request for a new podcast. Until I get word from Apple and Stitcher, I will keep “Medical Fun Facts” intact but the new podcast, viz., “The Medical Fun Facts Podcast” will exist on a new host.

I need to lose weight

So what else have I been up to? After returning from Bendigo which can best be described as a gastronomical journey I’ve been pondering the weight I’ve gained over the last couple of years. I’ve tried to look at my portion control but continually fail. The only thing that has worked for me in the past has been to reduce my carbohydrate intake. I don’t want to go full Atkins again though. It’s not sustainable. It’s unpleasant and makes meal planning and going out difficult. I mean, it helped me go from 100 kg to 77 kg over about 9 months and keep it off for at least 5 years. I’m now back to about 90 kg. I feel uncomfortable and I don’t want to spend money on new clothes. So what I’m going to try is to reduce my carbohydrate intake without going to extremes. I won’t eat anything with added sugar and I won’t eat any bread, rice or pasta but I will continue to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables regardless of the carbohydrate content. This will necessitate an increase in meat and cheese consumption but I will try to focus mostly on white meats like chicken and if I have to, turkey. I also need to be careful about cured meats. Previously I consumed large amounts of salami and other cured meats but since the International Agency for Research on Cancer warned about risks associated with cured meats which I presume to also include bacon, I’m mindful of being more careful. I’ll let you know how I go.

Be kind to your anus The Medical Fun Facts Podcast Gary Lum
Be kind to your anus

I went with a click bait type title for this week’s show. It’ll drop tomorrow (Monday 2 October 2017) night Canberra time at 7 pm AEDT. Please note, some Australian states and Canberra have moved to daylight saving time today. If you own an Ikea VIKIS digital clock you can get instructions on how to change the time here.

Catch you next week.

Other posts you may enjoy

Podcasts I listen to while walking, driving and working around the flat

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

Is my drawing getting any better?


My thoughts on Floriade 2017

Sir Robert Menzies Gary Lum

I missed the beginning of Floriade 2017 because I was in Bendigo for the weekend watching Miss 16 compete in the 2017 National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival. For the last few years, I’ve tried to attend Floriade on the first weekend, mainly because it’s less crowded because the bulbs tend not to be as well developed.
Check out the map. If you click on a place marker it will open up information including photographs.

Fishing in Lake Burley Griffin

I have no idea what these blokes will catch but there’s no way I’d eat anything from one of Canberra’s artificial waterways.

Fishing on Lake Burley Griffin Gary Lum
Fishing on Lake Burley Griffin

Hello Sir Robert

I like how the sculptor captured Sir Robert’s face.

Sir Robert Menzies Gary Lum
Sir Robert Menzies

My thoughts on Floriade 2017

The surface area is smaller this year.

The parking is more difficult because the usual parking area is undergoing maintenance. I wonder if this was thought through in advance knowing the parking for Floriade is always tight. I suppose for the ACT Government event management like this is tough.

The nook the gnomes usually occupy was roped off so the gnomes had a new spot. It doesn’t seem to be as ‘cosy’ for the gnomes. There seemed to be fewer gnomes this year.

The biggest change was in the placement of stalls. Usually, the purveyors of various goods and services you find at fetes and carnivals are lumped in one main area so that you can easily go from vendor to vendor. It meant you could get this part of the Floriade experience over and done with in one hit. Not this year though, all the stalls have been scattered and I didn’t notice any particular theme. Given the cost of parking, I didn’t have enough time to visit each and every stall across the entire ‘Floriade footprint’. I expect some people like it that way. I hope it helps for the tourist numbers.

Here is a gallery of photographs. Click on one and then scroll through the gallery.

Captain Cook Memorial Jet

In the ten years I’ve lived in Canberra, I’ve only ever seen the jet running a few times. It has required significant maintenance over the last few years. It’s good to see it working again. I hope it has continued trouble-free operation.

Captain Cook Memorial Jet on Lake Burley Griffin Gary Lum
Captain Cook Memorial Jet on Lake Burley Griffin

Will I go back?

I might, Floriade is ‘free’ in that there is no entry fee. There are parking costs and the prices of goods and services are way overpriced. I bought a small long black coffee (essentially dirty water) for $4.80. I bet the food is overpriced too.

Is there anything better?

Yes, Tulip Top Gardens is much better but it’s a bit out of the way and there is an entrance fee.