The hustle and bustle

It’s after 11pm and I didn’t have dinner. I mismanaged the time tonight because I was ‘busy’ with something else. Even ordinary laidback people can’t always keep up with their schedule, life, work etc. The very same goes for me. And when I F up, I admit to it and try not to be too hard on myself.

However, I WILL not quit.

Oh Hell No!

At the same time, this body is my temple, it is my responsibility. So, had I not meal planned, I would’ve grabbed something outside on my way home from gym.

And what ‘ good’ can you grab at 10pm in the evening? [Chuckle]. I can grab something outside on the weekend but I can’t do it every day. No no no. Always make sure you keep some real food in the house. Start today for a better tomorrow.

This is a small portion from the meal prep meal below:

I’m going to hit the sack at around 1:30-2:00am, I want to finish some tasks before I start my new day. Let me get onto that now. Good night my lovelies [Joyful][Grin][Grin]


You deserve the best!

And that’s what everyone says, ‘you deserve the best!’ Whose best? Yours or mine? Now let’s talk about mine since I’m being spoken to.

April was my birthday month. Traditionally birthdays are celebrated in a way that brings people to you, the build up excitement and enthusiasm and of course the anticipation for the clock to reach the hour. It’s invigorating! This time around, I did it exactly my way. One things for sure, You can never hide it, and that’s not my intention at all. I truly believe it is a day that should be celebrated, but I’m all about the heart and minds feelings, connecting and syncing together with the body. Lets see, dad says because of all the Zumba, today you can eat as you wish then you can do your exercise.

Brother says, did you tell your coworkers? That’s the best way to receive a gift. Mom says, treat yourself girl! She knew what I was on about. And luckily for me on that afternoon my last class got cancelled, meaning Freedom!

I decided to use the entire afternoon for me and I kept my special trip towards the end of April.

Birthday business line up:

-At lunch time went to the nail shop for a mani and pedi,

-Then picked up a bunch of sunflowers,

– After that I stopped to buy a dress for the white party – done! (Pic taken at the party below)

-Lastly, I went for light lunch, cold noodles, just the way I like them.

-Evening time I made a birthday platter, poured a class of bubbly and enjoyed the cool breeze on my balcony.

Now that I totally deserved! And I loved every minute of it.

It was a splendid day, best choices made to start the new Year!

But wait, how did the day start? Like any other, with prayers and thanks to God and the universe. And it ended this way too.

Life is bold, bright and Beaaaauuuyiful!

PS! This post has been in my drafts for exactly one month since my birthday and to finally release it today is sentimentally profound. One of the ‘nicest’ personal posts I’ve blogged for myself. So exciting, really. Just finishing off the story brought back the memories and the butterflies.

Joy and Inner Peace,


I binged again – then I bounced back

This is a rather old post but for my personal growth I have to do it. Last week I had a really tough day, one of those that no one wants to experience.

I’ve been controlling my eating habits really well, even to the point that I know how useless snacking can be sometimes. I’m serious, we don’t always have to pop food into our mouths just because. So one thing I experiment with (learnt from Deepak Chopra) is to put my hand on my stomach and say, how hungry am I? Is this hunger or thirst? Is this huger attached to something that occurred or is it real? This easy technique has helped me a lot so far. I’d say I follow this 97% of the time, especially weekdays when I’m at home.

So let me take this minute to praise myself, I’ve come a long way when it comes to emotional eating, the fact that I can consciously admit the uselessness of some food items when I’m in a good mood is great evidence to me. And just like I stopped adding the sugar in my coffee, on a random day, so too I will stop the unnecessary snacking. It will come.

Back to the binge day, I didn’t know how to control my emotions. I decided between getting out of the house (which could lead to all sorts of temptations), and taking the 2 potatoes and roasting them in the oven. While I was sitting and contemplating what to do, I was munching on my students small sweet rice cake snacks, let’s say 5 of those. Mhm mmm.

And here they are,

Looks delicious right? It wazzzzz! First I boiled them, then peeled, sprinkled some coconut oil, herbs & straight into the oven. (Gotta love my toaster oven). I didn’t have to eat all that potatoes but I did. Slowly, elegantly and sipping my last glass of red. While I was eating I calmly said, ‘you know this is too much’ and then came that motherly voice, ‘make sure you finish your food! Don’t waste’. Now as I’m writing this, I’m like damn! That mother voice always popping out trying to kill my buzz. Next time I’m going to kill it!

Anyway, this is what I know:

1. Bad experiences can arise;

2. Don’t just act, try to place yourself in a calm space, then make your decision;

3. F……. cry it out! Just let it out;

4. Eventually you have to turn to someone and vent a little, choose your dialogue carefully – not the full story. ( unless you’re ok with the listener);

5. Start thinking of your way forward now that you know what you know;

6. And lastly, the famous one, what will I do next time this kind of experience happens?

it’s never easy at the beginning, but along the road I’ve become better at managing myself and my situations. And……. I’m still in love with life.

Written with love,


What is Healthy Living In China?

A post that is long overdue, finally! Any project owner, creator, innovator and shape shifter has to sit down and define what they want their name to stand for. This is mine.

As an individual who thrives on human development, growth and inspiration from ordinary people, I’ve always had the desire to be in the ‘help’ industry. By this I mean the area that focuses on human improvement, connecting the main elements of your wellbeing, in order to live a more fulfilling lifestyle.

The name speaks for my current place of residence as well, I’m in a city called Guangzhou, which is in the South Of China. As an expat, finding a healthy lifestyle can be very challenging, well for any busy person it can be difficult. We are in a world of fast moving and shaking, where it is almost a shame to stop for a minute to have a glance at your reflection. I’m here to say hell no to that.

I believe in the little joys of life, in life and around your life. We can start small and grow bigger, until you reach your actualisation. And in most cases, there’ll be another one.

Back to the point, my goal is to build and grow the Healthy Living In China brand as a wellness brand that focuses on key areas as reflected in this image.

To me, this is what defines wellness. My personal area of specialisation is the Emotional, Spiritual and Intellectual areas. I find these to be the most neglected in the health industry. It’s like the ‘take 5 min a day’ to feed your soul, really? Why only 5minutes? So for the rest of the 1440minutes in a day only 5 are good enough to care for your soul? Mhm, doesn’t sound quite right. So this is me. I care deeply about this neglected area.

With all that being said, I learn and teach myself every day. And I try to make it as effortless as possible, because just like everyone, I’m a busy person too.

Through this, I hope for someone to experience a lightbulb moment, Aha moment, reminder, reflection or deep provoking thoughts. My posts are thoughts and reflections about life, observations and human development. I’m here to share with love.

Enjoy reading and discovering HLIC!

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)

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,