My enemy – My friend

My name is Charlene, I’m an emotional eater.

Sounds like an AA meeting right? Yeah, little did we know that most addictive behaviours possess the same behavioural traits. It’s sad that drugs and alcohol have to be labelled the black sheep and to some degree many think these are the only addictions with the greatest damage. My point; it might show the biggest outer side-effects, but the traits of an alcoholic, drug addict, shopaholic, bulger, and the list goes on and on, they all share similar emotional roller coasters. And then, many don’t even know that Food Is A Drug!

I’ve been fighting with Emotional eating for years, without being aware of it. And in a few days time I’ll be sharing some highlights of my journey with a small group, interested in Healthy Living in China. Very excited and very nervous.

The food drug drove me insane, sometimes still. But but but but, I’m at a stage where I take most of my control back from the food and the behaviour. Gone are the days where I’m relying on food to comfort my negative and sad emotions. I live on the opposite side now. I didn’t want to come out then because I didn’t fully understand what was really going on. But now I say: ‘fuck off’ this is my life and I’m in charge, not potato chips.

Celebrate good times come on, da da da da da da da da , it’s a celebration! Literally singing. This shit ain’t easy. I don’t ride rollercoasters, but trust me when I say, I know what it feels like to be on one. Yet I’m super proud of having a more meaningful understanding of what Emotional Eating really is. I’ve been blogging about some episodes in the past but never did I say ‘I am an Emotional Eater’. People take this up lightly, as if it’s nothing. For me EE has been in charge of my life for years. But for a few months I’ve actively and consciously decided to turn things around.

I had to get this off my chest before I forget the feeling on this memorable day. I’m a new born baby, ready to Live, Learn, Love, and Share.

There’ll definitely be many more posts about my EE journey.

Optimal wellness and a mindful understanding of health and fitness is my passion and purpose for this world. I can study, read, talk, write about this all day long. This right here is my life. I want to learn more to inspire more. Once many of us human beings understand this, our lives will be so much easier and pleasing. Oh man!

My soul is getting warm by writing this. It’s like a beautiful flame inside, a light that can never go away.

Now, I Luuuuuuuuurv cooking for myself. I love the idea of creating balanced meals for myself. One must take back ownership of your life from whatever negative forces crossed paths with your mind and soul. Change starts today, for a better tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I fail, I stumble, I take a step back, but I never stop slide to the bottom.

The things I learn along the way, are my helping resources every single day.

I love you Charlene for always being willing to start over and push carry go!

Because I am Bold, Bright & Beautiful!



There’s no right time.

Once upon a time we all felt pain and sorrow. And in that time you feel the pain, you make the decision of fighting your battle with all your armour. Until one day, you lose. Usually that day when you lose, you want to cuddle your little teddy bear. And when it’s not around, you reach for anything else that resembles the comfort from good old teddy. Deep down inside, we have the burning desire to share it with the people that matter most. But this is another difficult step.

You plan and you wait for that day, it’s almost like an entry on your planner: ‘Tell so and so or speak to so and so’. And on that day your so and so is not available. You try again, haha, it doesn’t work. Because……. there’s no right time.

Every minute is the right time. Letting go and talking to that special someone doesn’t need ‘the right time’. But one thing I know to be true, it needs you to be ready to silently breathe and speak up. Speak up and let it roll off your chest like a soft silk scarf, gently.

And so it was and so shall it be.

And I created the most beautiful moment.

And life is just beautiful

Because every day, it gets better and better.

What’s going on?

Dear diary,

Sometimes when you(me) have really great moments it’s so glorious, I can’t even describe it. And in those glorious moments nothing (not even coffee) matters. I’m so serious. In that moment you make decisions like, I don’t even need coffee. Well, I’ve actually given away the full pack of coffee I bought in Vietnam, was simply too bitter for me. Besides, I was not going to have Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk every day (Sugar coma). My current regular pack is on its last, I’ve decided not to get a refill because I’ve just received 2 packs of artisanal mixes from the Philippines. That second while I’m in the high, I also decided to not buy coconut milk anymore – I threw out this mornings cup cause the taste was not very appealing. And in that instant I decided, having the good coffee outside will be a good treat again. Still on the good buzz, I high 5 myself in the mirror, and do a quick body loving moment. Mhm, yes, thigh muscles, I see you making your way, keep on coming out, haha.

And my bedtime story was Michael Singers voice telling me to stop trying to do the like and dislike thing and learn to be present in both. Mhm, I hear you, good night.

And then the next day, you got your daily tasks in your head, you know what you’re supposed to do, you’re cool with everything until Bang! Work computer decides to fan, laptop issues, silly delay at home. So now you’re like, okay, next thing on the list. Then you’re trying to get people to join an event, because you want them to share your joy in this activity, and in your mind you’re saying, ‘oh my G! This is going to be awesome for them cause they need this. I want them to really experience this. And you literally stop in your tracks, pause your own action to take on what isn’t your responsibility. Partially you feel responsible because these people are part of your group. And then you’re faced with the disappointment of people not taking interest. Mhm, and you take it personal. The 1st: What’s going on?

You go home to have your lunch, and while walking home you do the hungry test, on a scale from 1-10, how hungry are you? You get home and you’re on 7, you eat.

Then you have your lunch and while doing that you’re on your phone (the biggest sin) dealing with the laptop issue. You’re still trying to resolve the pre-lunch issue and right now you’ve added another one. Yikes! And here comes the 2nd; What’s going on?

Meanwhile, you’re just ignoring these questions, and chowing away. But little angel on my left ear says gently, for the 3rd time, What’s going on? You stop to give everything a quick preview, like watching a movie trailer……

It felt overwhelming, I got up, had a glass of water, took a deep breath, packed my bag. I need coffee in a good place. (Uhm, this morning I through out the coffee cause the taste was really bad). So I’ve told my brain that I deserve a good cup today, I don’t need to settle for something that tastes bad. And off I went.

I arrived, had two looks at the chocolate mousse cake and there I was.

And my question came back, What’s going on? And the biggest level of guilt came over me. Charlene, calm down and start slowly. And I did just that. I sat there for a minute and just relaxed.

And the answers came, from the first to the very last. And I felt the guilt swift away, because I’ve answered all the questions. This was about the first time I’ve dragged myself out the house for coffee and cake in ages, (well I planned for coffee). Uhm, also period day 2, I won’t continue on that issue. But but but, I know exactly where this comes from.

I sat there and completed 3 of the things on my list, left heading straight to the 4th and finally a 5th one, with the help of someone.

I’m glad I answered my questions, I’m glad I dealt with my issues as it unfolded, I’m glad I completed my tasks today.

Calmness has reached my inner soul after the storm.

Don’t stop asking the question and remember to answer it yourself.

Today’s major lessons:

1) Remember, even if you only touch one soul, that is enough. Don’t worry about the masses, they will follow. (Remembering this for the next few weeks).

2) Last nights message was crystal clear, learn to live with the likes and the dislikes

3) As long as you can stop, recognise and acknowledge why this is happening, you will become wiser at dealing with the next episode.

4) Learn to remain calm and continue taking care of your day.

The end!


(Late post, Monday’s events)

Shall we dance?

Dear diary,

Thursday evening I attended a birthday party with a community of Latin dance enthusiasts. One great thing about living in a foreign country is seeing so many different nationalities socialise together at events. You really get to know the world.

As a child I did ballroom and Latin dance, so I remember a tad bit of move directions. But tonight! I was totally embarrassed. I haven’t danced salsa, bachata or kizomba socially. In Zumba we add some basic moves, mix it with fitness and Zumba flavour to create our choreography. But to do the actual dance of course is a different experience.

Confession: I attended a Kizomba workshop last year, purely as a stress reliever. Now I said that pun intended, but seriously though.

And then comes the awkward moment when that guy asks you to dance, you start shaking so much and just tense up. Keep in mind that this fitness girl’s body is already tense. Shuuu!

I could feel my tight body when he took my hand, now imagine how he felt? Mhm mhm.

And in the end I realised that;

  • We have to continue learning the basics.
  • Practice practice practice.
  • We have to learn to relax.
  • The guys should leave the techno dance skills until later.
  • Maybe I look like a dancer that’s why they do all those tricks on me – hahaha.
  • I seriously have to attend some lady styling classes, this can really be a great stress buster.

Just roll honey, roll and point! Hahaha


About last week: First vegetarian dinner for friends!

That moment when you realise that you still have a lot of vegetables in the fridge and you’re the only one 😱😱. I can’t waste & it’s the end of the week. I decided to invite 2 friends for dinner, who happened to be great meat lovers. Fortunately for me they happily accepted my offer. In the end, who says no to free food?

It turned out to be a glorious meal, I whipped up a few things and can definitely learn from making these dishes in the future.

1. Black bean dip

-Home cooked black beans, soaked overnight, these can take time. I added chopped onions, garlic, ginger, red chilli, red&green pepper. We had the dip with the cucumbers and I made some Parmesan & pesto spread toast. That was yumm!

Tip for next time: too much garlic; need a hand blender, roast peppers before blending. Even better, sauté all the veggies before adding it to the black beans.

2. Tuna bok choy rolls

Oh man, these were delish! I sautéed the onion, red pepper, grated carrots with the Korean soy bean paste, I have a blog post about the sauce (small green tube in pic). That paste is heaven, but use generously due to salt and msg. I’m definitely making this savoury again. Basically, you spoon the tuna into the cabbage, add an optional dash of the bean paste and roll it up. Very similar to Korean bbq, how’s that for innovation? Haha.

3. Chinese style broccoli.

This has become my regular way of cooking the broccoli, it gives it flavour and extra power. So I lightly steamed it due to time, then stir fry into coconut oil, garlic and red chilli. The original Chinese way is steamed or stir fried with garlic with optional soy sauce. I’ve had it both ways, don’t like the soy sauce with the broccoli. Besides, coconut oil is pure bliss.

4. Rice and Red kidney beans

Oooh, this came out really well. I was remembering Sunday lunch as a kid, yellow rice (adding turmeric while it boils) but mine was minus the raisins and it was brown rice instead of white. I mixed some masalas with onions and simmered for a bit, then added the rice and beans mix with grated carrots and chopped green pepper. Voila!

That’s it!


The things we learn along the way

As an expat, living in another country, every trip home I’m always excited and aggressively eager to buy food items that I can bring back with me. Aggressively eager? Yes! Cause it involves, lists, checking different stores specials throughout my vacation time, searching for certain products that I think is best, dragging my mother into this, buying access luggage, and then the cherry on top…. packing my bag, fitting all the products to realise that I’m Overweight Again! 😱🤗🤗 #pasttimehabits haha. Here’s a pic of my last batch from South Africa in August last year.

This situation is usually serious business; a few minutes after my arrival back in China, I immediately reached for the suitcase, Only – Only to remove all the food products, nothing else. I’m not kidding, the rest must wait ’till tomorrow. Can you imagine the pesto, olives or whatever broke? I’m not having that! This was a few minutes after I arrived back, took a shower first and then reached for my bag.

Let’s talk about the key ingredients:


2. Cosmetics

3. Legumes

4. Canned goods

5. Cereal

6. Hubby’s special sauce

For the purpose of this post, I’d like to focus on numbers 1 and 3. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but I don’t cook or use salt on our food. Main reason for this is because my husband has HBP and when I grew up my mom used very little salt, due to my brother’s health. I have salt at home cause I use it to clean fruit and veggies from the market and sometimes to clean the home. And then I work myself into a frenzy, making sure that I avoid ‘salt’ as much as possible and I pride myself for not using salt. Meanwhile, I’m heavy on spice purchases. Spice for fish, chicken, meat, rice etc. Char Char Char, they all contain SALT, you didn’t know? And other stuff that you thought you don’t take in (not even going to list that).

So, my point is, I’ve become so open to learn and discover more about the manufacturing and nutritional value of food. I’m becoming less attached to this obsession I had of buying what I thought was the best and associating it with my ‘must be healthy’ attitude. I’m outgrowing this because now it’s ‘I want to be healthy and I’m enjoying my journey on wellness living.’

But listen to this. So the food buying thrill has joined me on vacations too. In the last 6 months I’ve visited Vietnam and Thailand, returning with food. Living in China, some of the healthier western products are usually more expensive and it’s not always trustworthy. Here is a pic of this months purchases from Thailand, I was over the moon! I’ve got some good quality ingredients right here.

And then this week I went to one of my regular supermarkets for coconut milk, to find a much bigger international food section. How exciting was that? But here comes another surprise, we have a new mall in a commercial area which is a 15-min bus ride away. This fancy mall has a small version of a good Japanese brand supermarket known in China. Now we all know the Japanese can stand for their brands. Boy oh boy! I was thrilled. Within a week I discovered that both these stores had most of my legumes and some other products that I can rely on. High five to Carrefour and Aeon!

I’m loosening the tight band I’ve had on food. Being in China has not made it easy, but sometimes you have to open yourself up to exploring more, learning more and to eat in faith (exception to some foods, of course). It’s not always about what you eat, but how you eat, when you eat and your connection with that food. Big post to follow on this topic. Im all for having the most nutritious, wholesome meals that will benefit my body, but ain’t nobody gonna suffer. Done playing for that team.

Lastly, just look at how wonderful the universe has come through for me and my food, making sure that I can access these stores for good quality food items. I remember taking a 1.5-hour commute to buy frozen fish and chickpeas. Those days are gone. I’m super grateful! For real man!

That’s all for today.

PS! I really enjoy pushing a cart down the aisles. And close to checkout, I literally check all the items in my basket to eliminate the mundane stuff. The joys of ‘throwing’ things in, haha.

Peace, love, and a healthy heart-heart.


Thou shalt not diet.


The health and fitness industry is experiencing a massive revolution. Trends are popping up all over the place, but in the last few years documentaries about food products and exercise regimes have  skyrocketed. Everyone wants to be healthy, fit and lean, but the industry is feeding us so much crap. Passionate health and fitness enthusiasts like myself eventually have to sit back and say; It takes one to test and try something, but it takes another to be lied and deceived. For years I’ve kept my frown on my forehead whenever a new thing pops up, but the eager beaver inside me always wanted ‘to try out’ the next best diet, workout, food products, in order to get the best results. Yes, there’s much more to it, but listen to this part. The industry has always had a major neglect on one particular area, that’s  why I’ve changed my direction about the wellness industry. Which brings me to my next point,

What is Healthy living?

We really underestimate this term, as we were only taught to focus on eating lots of  vegetables, go to the gym , stay away from carbs and fat,  but cheat now and then.

Health encompasses many components, starting with the body, mind, spirit, genetics, environment, movement, exercise, food, nutrition etc.  Personally, the psychological part is the most important, yet highly ignored. These components are all inter-dependent. They have to work together to achieve a harmonious wellness lifestyle. But the mind is the power-tool. Check out what pops up on google,


No mention of the emotional aspects of weight loss. As as an adult, I have doubt about many social platforms,  researchers, authors and doctors information. They are forgetting how we should really take good care of ourselves. As Ghandi says, be the change you want to see in this world, and that’s what I’m going to do. I can’t stand for a neglect, I have to act, Starting with me.

Besides, one shoe does never fit all, we have to listen to our bodies and take a pick from the mix.  There’s something for you,  but not everything.

Thou shalt not diet,thou shalt live an optimal wellness lifestyle.

Shared with love,


Salad streets around the world

Imagine having a salad vendor selling this kind of meal on streets around the world, how’s that for healthy living? Every cart should have a different kind of theme, haha. I vote for Charlene as Salad Queen! 🙋🏽🙋🏽🎉🎉🤔🤪🤗 Howudoin? #thailandstreetfood #saladlady #letshaveasaladworld #wholesomesalads #saladoftheday #streetsalads #easymeals #healthy&convenient #simplesalads #saladidea

I feel you Karma.

Dear diary,

I’m still on vacation in Thailand, weather isn’t as warm as I expected, which means walking the streets is comfortable. Ain’t no sweaty business going on 😊. And then, guess what? Me was wearing a sleeveless summer top and all the inside spots had their ACs on full blast. I ended up sniffing and shivering, had to buy a long sleeve shirt. Anyway, here comes the main story;

I’ve always heard people talk about discrimination but it’s very rare for me to experience a blow directly. Well today I did.

Here’s the juice: After much sight seeing and tired some walking, I started looking for a cafe, to take a break. I stepped into a shopping centre, filled with cosmetics counters on the ground floor. I spotted a directory board and didn’t notice any cafes, so I decided to leave. Now usually the cosmetics counters have a way of drawing your attention, and then it did. Ooh, lemme check this SK perfume, I know their skin products are really cool. And within a second I picked up one of the bottles and gave it a sniff. Dang, that’s strong, put the bottle back down ( I didn’t spray, just sniffed) and here comes the counter assistant. Can I help you, I said no thanks I was just checking the smell.

And then in a very authoritative voice he said this perfume, you shouldn’t smell it like this, you should spray it here. He made lots of hand gestures and said, this is expensive blah blah blah. I said ok, gently smiled and walked off. And as I said ok, he went ‘yes’, and stared me down in that ‘what is this? look. As I turned and walked away I smiled and said to myself this guy is so cocky, let me get out. Then, it was almost as if someone said, quickly turn around, and as I did, this dude was still looking at me with utter disgust. Now listen, I know this look, let me just be direct, all the perfume/cosmetics male staff have a certain kind of attitude that any chick can recognise from a distance, especially if your gay radar is on track (not saying all of them are gay either) I’m not sure if it’s their black suits, their upright posture, their tone of voice but there’s that thing about them, basically showing you how they know it all about this brand and you my dear, with this face, in this look: was not good enough to pick up and sniff my perfume. Oh I’m sorry I didn’t fit your client profile. Meanwhile this park is so nice and lush and I’m looking gorgeous I’ll say! These slippers are heaven.

Back to the story, I was just about to reach the door, I turned around, walked back to the counter and said to him; ‘you don’t have to speak to me like that, that wasn’t necessary. He said but you don’t smell, you spray, this is expensive! I said but you were rude to me, that wasn’t necessary. He apologised and went on about smelling and sniffing again and I turned around and walked away. Now let me please remember to never ever pick up a bottle and sniff it lololol. For real! Cause somebody’s gonna jump down my throat.

On a serious note, I really felt offended by this guys attitude, I’m not sure if I might be overreacting but I didn’t see this coming at all. I left there feeling so disturbed and unsettled, but as we say in SA, I decided to snap out of it and pull myself towards myself. This is my vacation and I ain’t gonna let the perfume guy ruin it, cause the day has been great so far.

Why am I making a big fuss of this? Well I haven’t read my morning affirmations since I’m on holiday (Feb 1st) but when all of this happened I remembered the one: ‘show the world your values and the world will treat you accordingly’. When we are not happy with something, we need to step up and speak up in a respectful manner. Old Charlene would have 1) told the guy that I have money I can buy this perfume now 2) give him attitude back 3) left there being angry for a few hours 4) eat crap to make me feel better 5) not record my feelings. And now I’ll say, I’m so over that kind of behaviour cause life is much better on this side honey! And in the end, I’m smiling, and in my heart I’m saying, let me ALwAYs remember to be nice to anyone that comes my way. Guess what, reminded again about another affirmation, about putting something in and getting the same thing out, hahahaha. Nothing happens by accident. Just maybe I had a similar attitude towards another person a while ago. And now I realised, this very moment, a few days ago I was a bit arrogant with someone else myself. Someone I met and this person wasn’t very clear and I gave her a sarcastic comment. And in the end…..I can only say one word – Karma.

But…… I’m so happy that I’m able to recognise and learn from this, it doesn’t happen overnight. But when it comes through, I can only say, Thank You! I feel blessed and grateful for my growth journey every step of the way.

Every day, it gets better and better.

ight & Beautiful

Food diary – Thursday 25/01/18

Today was such a good example of how I connected with my food. Had a pretty much normal morning, some light cardio and 1 resistance round. Did my morning soul food routine etc. I made brunch; eggs with toast. After 12:30, I left the house for a meeting downtown. Turned out to be a great one. Emotions: all optimistic, motivated and excited. Meeting ended after 3, was supposed to have another one so instead of heading back home I decided to browse in the malls while I wait. Now these malls were busy, maybe because people are getting ready to leave for CNYear. Then, I started feeling dizzy and hot flushes. I think this was because of the very warm top I was wearing, I was in a very crowded area and my glucose levels have been depleted. The minute I realised that I needed to refuel my body I started searching for food places, and all I could find were junk food vendors, to the Chinese people’s delight, apart from one very overcrowded fruit store. This was not what I needed. I thought of my beautiful breakfast meal I had and how I wasn’t ready to destroy my immune system that moment. I carried on walking until I reached the subway station entrance, and at this stage the safest looking place was 7/11. Really and not really safe, I started searching for the nuts and got this,

With the bottle of water. And as I walked out of the store, I was like ‘well done darling’, this is the best you can do for you at this very moment. Cause ain’t nobody gonna faint right here, oh hell no! And within a few minutes I felt better.

Got home, headed to the supermarket for some fresh fruit and then it was time to relax.

After 20 minutes I noticed how late it was and I whipped up dinner, quick avo salad with homemade soup. I had the soup first, so yum.

It really helps connecting your thoughts with your food and your space.

It was a good day.

Happy food journaling!