This week I have had a smorgasbord of experiences, from barbecuing to sending postcards to sick children, to trying kimchi and sitting half naked in a walk in freezer!
Day 19: Asian supermarket and Kimchi
On Thursday I took a stroll through the local Asian supermarket. I have been fortunate in the past to have visited a couple of countries in South East Asia (Singapore and Thailand) and whilst there have been to the supermarket, so Thursday’s sojourn was not strictly a new thing. That said, it was the first time I had been into and Asian supermarket in Australia.
When you step through the front door of an Asian grocery store it certainly feels like you’ve been transported to a different country. The shop I visited featured rows upon rows of unfamiliar fruits, vegetables and spices as well as packages of exotic looking foods like century eggs, red bean paste, kimchi and squid jerky.
I purchased a couple of items, including kimchi, which I had for dinner as Thursday’s 1 thing new. Kimchi is a spicy Korean dish made of fermented vegetables and has recently been hailed a superfood – and it is DELICIOUS! It may be a bit too spicy for kids, but hubby and I really enjoyed it. I served the kimchi on a bed of mixed baby salad greens and topped with pan fried barramundi fillets. I’d love some other ideas, so if you have any suggestions on what to serve kimchi with, please share in the comments below.
Day 20: Sitting in a freezer!
On Friday I sat in a walk in freezer wearing little more than a t-shirt and flip flops! This is something I had no idea I would end up doing this year.
I accepted a spur of the moment invitation from a friend to attend a Wim Hof session. At the time I had no idea what the Wim Hof method was, but keen to try something new I decided to give it a go. So I woke up at 4.15am Friday morning and headed to the CocoLucious frozen dessert factory where the session was to take place.
You may have heard of Wim Hof aka Iceman (which is more than I had). He holds 26 Guinness World Records for extreme sports and has climbed Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro wearing a pair of shorts! Wim attributes his astonishing achievements to the breathing technique he has developed which allows him to control his parasympathetic nervous system and strengthen his immune system. In other words, he can regulate the functions of his internal organs like core temperature and reactions to stress.
My session on Friday began with a brief discussion of the method which involves controlled hyperventilation to increase your body’s oxygen levels. Sitting comfortably on the floor we began by breathing deeply, then did 3 rounds of 32 power breaths ending with a brief holding of our breath. We were told that it is quite normal to feel light headed or tingly when doing these exercises (nice to know I am quite normal, then!) I couldn’t hold my breath for very long – lucky if I made 30 seconds – so was a bit sceptical as to how well I would do when we got into the freezer.
Exposure to extreme cold is one of the more common practices (tests?) associated with the Wim Hof method. As I already mentioned, this session took place at a frozen dessert factory, so that we could use the freezer which is set at an icy -22C plus wind chill, thanks to the large fans that circulate the freezing air. Dressed only in a loose t-shirt, gym pants and flip flops, I didn’t think I’d stand more than 30 seconds in the cold.
We took our places in the freezer, seated on upturned plastic crates and, with closed eyes, practiced the breathing technique we had been taught. The cold hit me immediately. It was quite welcome at first, as I was feeling rather hot (it’s summer on the Gold Coast and even at 6am is usually pretty warm). As I sat on the crate, I focused on the heat in my core and imagined it radiating through me. Every time I became aware of the cold (in my finger’s for instance) I just refocused my thoughts back to the heat radiating through me. Some of the others around me were getting restless, fidgeting and moving, but I sat still, focusing on my breathing and the heat.
I had no sense of time in the freezer, and, was driven out of the cold room for fear of being late for work rather than because I felt too cold. I must have spent around 5 minutes in there (which surprised me) but I wonder how long I could have stayed if I hadn’t been worried about getting to work on time. I’ll have to try it again.
If you have tried the Wim Hof method, I’d love to hear all about your experience. Drop me a line or leave a comment below.
Day 21: Emergency candle
Did you know you can make a candle out of butter and toilet paper? It is incredibly easy and burns for hours! The only things you need are a block of butter and a square of toilet paper. Yep, that’s it!
First, get your block of butter (any type will do). I put my butter in the freezer for a few hours before making my candle, so it wouldn’t melt too quickly. Then cut the butter in half. Next get your square of toilet paper (again, any type will do) and cut it into quarters. Take one quarter, roll into a wick shape and push it into the centre of one half of the butter. Rub a little butter on the wick and light it. Yep, that’s it!
Check out my video below to see exactly how I did it.
So next time you have a power outage, or a romantic dinner and are caught without a candle you can make your own. Why not give it a try and let me know how you go?