The five things right now: #4 – cooking and exercise

It’s been said that eating right and moving your body help give you a fighting chance against the insidious mental ills. That’s something I could use at the moment, given that my lady wife, Vickie, passed away just over five months ago now.

And, let’s face it, eating right is pretty much the key to everything. So how am I doing with all of this on my own?


For the last few years, my exercise routine has been solitary. Vickie’s problems with bodily pain and the slow decline of her liver meant that I’d be walking our Sookie on my own of a morning. Vickie would get out in the yard or do stuff around the house where she could, and by the time I got home, she’d either be in the kitchen or done with any major exercise for the day.

Since Vickie died, I’ve kept in the habit of walking Sookie around the block every morning; there are always things to do in the yard (particularly mowing) and I like to stretch my legs around the city centre come lunch time.

That said, I also like popping up to the Wicked Goblin at lunch time, browsing the shelves and chatting with Mick and/or Jarrah about gaming. (It’s got a great set of steps, though.)

And I have some gym kit outside, a “toro” (sort of an assisted squat / vertical push-up machine) and a recumbent bike, that I rarely touch. I get into the habit, and then I get home from work a bit wrung out and don’t bother. It’s a shame; I have an arse-kicking workout playlist led off by K/DA’s “Pop/Stars” that normally keeps me going. I even bought a new set of Bluetooth headphones so I can work out without the cables.

Seriously, kick a workout off with this and you’ll be deadlifting mountains in no time.

Plus there’s my mate Troy who has some gym gear. We were in a three-day-a-week habit of my popping over his place after work, chatting and working out until he wound up busy with networking events; we both fell off the wagon (well, at least I did; I think he does his routines of a morning).

Still, I know enough to cover the basics and ensure I’m doing right by my body if I put my mind to it – I’m not sure I can say the same for cooking.

Vickie loved cooking. It was a love she tried to instil in me, but she was also queen of the kitchen and often brooked no interlopers. Also, our tastes in food varied some; I am sort of glad I don’t have to worry about the smell of prawns cooking or some of the more strongly-odoured ingredients in the Thai dishes she used to make any more.

That said, right at the moment, the only thing I really know how to batch-cook well is pasta, and as Troy told me, it’s laden with too many carbs for the amount of exercise I do. And I need to batch cook for lunches at work and those moments when I get home and really don’t want to face the kitchen.

I am glad that Vickie left me behind a wealth of recipes to read over and pick what I’d like to try from. She was even working on and off on a cookbook – Party in Your Pantry – that collected a lot of the stuff I liked; zucchini slices, pesto and others. Her curry powder mix is in there, too. It’s just a matter of making time to both shop and cook regularly.

Still, I worry that I don’t know how to keep a good mix of food going into my system. Sure, I can batch cook, but how do I eat a balanced diet? The two serves of fruit a day aren’t much of a problem (I’m usually an apples and bananas man; I need to throw some more citrus in there), but what about vegetables?

Again, I have to thank some great mates who’ve been a big help; Samantha not only did up several freezer meals for me back in April, but also came over to help me learn how to cook. think i let her do too much of the work, though, and so most of it didn’t stick.

Exercise Bike and Bowl
Maybe I’d be less likely to put them off if I did both at once..

I dunno. I seem to have done okay so far; maybe I’m worrying about nothing. It’s probably all part of having to face this great unknown of what life will be without Vickie – and more on that in the next and last post in this series.

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