A week in Brisbane

A week in Brisbane

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of December, I wasn’t expecting to spend the end of 2017 in Brisbane. In my mind, I was attending a WHO meeting in Lyon, returning to work for fours days, and then spending a week in Canberra between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day enjoying some warmth and a little humidity.

Lyon to Canberra

That was until a close relative needed to have a colonoscopy which revealed a significant malignant tumour requiring immediate surgery. Then there were complications of the surgery which meant a long spell in intensive care which will need to be followed by time in rehabilitation.

I’m now in Brisbane helping to care for relatives.

The bright side

As is my want, I will try to spend part of my conscious living focussing on the positive aspects of this situation. I will be spending time with family. I will an opportunity to spend some time with my daughters. I will be in my hometown (Brisbane). It will be warm and not hot like Canberra. It will be humid and not dry like Canberra.

I think I’ve written this before and my closest friends know this too, I love warm weather, I don’t like hot weather. Anywhere between 28 and 32 °C is fine by me. In Summer, up to 34 °C is tolerable. Anything >34 °C is not what I regard as pleasant. Certainly, Tuesday’s 39 °C in Canberra would have been horrible.

In addition, through social media and messaging apps, I can continue to stay in contact with IRL and online friends who I rely on to keep me in good spirits. You know who you are JM, FC, SGM, BCM… 😃👍😁

Working remotely

One of the nice things about modern work as a public servant is the capability to work remotely. So long as I have a 4G connection, I can check e-mail and if I go to a shopping mall, I can use the free Wi-Fi to get deeper into the work IT system so I can access files and other areas of the network.

QF1546 waiting on the tarmac in Canberra

Airport coffee, waiting for my flight to Brisbane

Weight situation

Would you believe my weight didn’t go up while I was away in Lyon? I ate croissants for breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea and occasionally dinner. I also ate cream and custard-filled pastries. It must be something in the water because I saw less than a handful of overweight people in Lyon. Everyone looked lean and healthful (apart from those smoking cigarettes).

I won’t be able to measure my mass while I’m in Brisbane but I hope to return to a low carb life. I will have to prepare meals suitable for others including a diabetic and heart disease safe meals. In many ways, a low carb life works well for people with diabetes mellitus.

Please note, again I should point out a disclaimer, I do not provide medical advice in my blogs, I will never form a doctor-patient relationship with a reader.

Diabetes mellitus

Getting back to a low carb life and diabetes mellitus though; diabetes mellitus is a small constellation of diseases associated with poor control of glucose. The islet cells of the pancreas produce insulin which is a hormone which helps regulate blood sugar. An insufficient amount of insulin causes an increase in blood sugar. This can create manifold problems acutely as well as chronic problems associated with pathological changes to blood vessels and nerves (blindness, heart disease, impotence, lower limb infections, amputations, kidney disease, kidney failure to name but a few problems). Because of the lack of insulin, people with diabetes mellitus should eschew foods with a lot of simple carbs and especially sucrose (sugar). This means bread, pasta and rice. Sugar and sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, albeit ‘natural’ should not be added to food. A diet rich in non-starchy vegetables and some fruit is good. Meat in moderation is also good along with some cheese. Proteins in small amounts help to sate appetite and ensure that overall carb intake is minimised. Fibre is also important for bowel health. As a first degree relative of someone with a bowel malignancy, I’m now even more conscious of bowel health and maintaining a good fibre content and a reduced red meat intake. If you follow my food socials, you’ll see more salmon and chicken and probably duck.

A low carb life can assist with a more stable and better control of blood sugar. If you’re reading this and wondering about the potential benefits or threats to your health, please see your own general practitioner (or what some people call a family physician). Again, I stress, see a proper doctor, not someone into supplements complementary and alternative medicine (SCAM) services. This includes people who claim to be integrative practitioners who try to combine modern conventional evidence-based science-based medicine with practices not steeped in the scientific method. Always remember good + bad ≠ good. Your GP may not be a nutritionist but your GP is a specialist in your life and can work with you and other professionals to optimise your nutrition.

Blue skies over Chermside

Black and white meeting rooms at the bank

Train Tragedy in the USA

What a tragedy. I paused as I read accounts on Facebook from friends in the USA. It made me think about the amazing train ride I had between Lyon and Paris last week. I finished that ride feeling very positive about very fast trains.

Christmas 2017

This coming Monday is Christmas Day. With Boxing Day a public holiday too, we have a four-day long weekend. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. I’ll be spending some time at the hospital visiting and then I hope to cook a chook for lunch. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to buy some prawns too. It’s not going to be an elaborate Christmas this year.

The food situation

I’ve been cooking for a family member and also taking some time out with other family members. When times are difficult, food is a good way to get some happiness.

Leftover lamb korma with two poached eggs

Scrambled eggs made with eggs and butter

Herb and seed crusted salmon with stir-fried kale and cabbage with horseradish cream

Mangoes in Brisbane are cheaper than mangoes in Canberra

Crumbed fish from the hospital tuck shop

Chicken wings ready for the oven

is worth having in the cupboard. Iodine is critical to the development of the brains of unborn babies and infants.

Iodine deficiency

Herb crusted chicken wings and hot chilli kale coleslaw stir-fry


The Wesley Hospital tuck shop chicken thighs and vegetables

Saturday night dinner to celebrate a little good news

Click on a photograph and scroll through the gallery. This was a Pork and Moreton Bay Bug (Thenus orientalis) spicy chilli kale and cabbage salad with horseradish cream. Here is the post on Yummy Lummy describing how to make it.

Kinn + Derm Chermside

We went for dinner here on Friday night. Read my Google review. We enjoyed chicken Pad Thai, crispy skinned chicken, crunch pork belly, soft shelled crab and a spicy green paw paw salad. Click on a photo to see a larger version and scroll through the gallery.

For dessert, I had a salted Queensland nut gelato

Salted Queensland nut gelato Brisbane Gary Lum


20 Replies to “A week in Brisbane”

  1. It’s wonderful your relatives have you to care for them Gary. Glad you didn’t put in weight in Lyon. I have been up jogging / walking every morning early here in Africa as food is plentiful. Hopefully my weight will be the same ie no gain. All your food photos are great.

    1. Thanks Sue. I’m determined to lose weight to get to my goal weight and start living more the way I want to. Less emphasis on food and more on moving my body.
      My tension lies in the love of photographing my food. I have branched out a bit, but it’s like an obsession. I’ve even been photographing the food in the hospital tuck shop. I may need psychological counselling 😜

    2. Ha ha that is a bit sad but funny. Merry Christmas Gary. Guess you will be with your girls which will be lovely as well as seeing your relative.

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