So I have been back in lovely Melbourne for almost a month now and all I can say is WOW.

Gorgeous Melbourne on Grand Final Afternoon

There was definitely no slow transition back into life here, with copious amounts of family events, and business deciding to step up a notch for no apparent reason (must be fate that I decided to come home when I did), I can whole heartedly say I am well and truly back in the swing of things!

Just one of the many four course family meals since I’ve been back

With no withdrawals, and the positive frame of mind I swore I was going to keep, I am continuing on to see what we can make of the excitement Melbourne has to offer.

Family meal…again!

It’s funny, you can tell you have been away for a while when small things that used to feel like the standard, begin to stand out to you. A few ridiculous examples include:

1. Standing in the shower for the first time since returning and trying to work out which way to turn the knob to make sure the water turns warm rather than freezing cold…yes Australia does things ‘backwards’ (gosh I felt ridiculous having to consciously think about this for a moment..or two!).

2. Sitting on the train and it being silent. Unlike in NYC where you have buskers, people asking for money, screaming battles for who knows what reason, or simple conversations going on between friends, here in Melbourne the train is SILENT. I literally put my phone on silent so that I don’t have to answer it on a train and have the whole carriage listening to my conversation. You also notice that you have to actually open the door when the train stops rather than it automatically happening (that could be seen as ‘backwards’ too I suppose..something tells me we will catch up eventually on this one though!).

3. Great coffee! I know I might be making a big call here, but Melbourne coffee really did match Italy’s. It really is fantastic. For anyone from Melbourne who thinks otherwise, go to the USA for a little while, and then come home..I promise, you’ll be grateful! Filter coffee is not even an option on the menu anywhere here..put it that way.

Coffee in Melbourne really is pretty good!

4. Driving and getting stuck behind a tram. After eight months of not driving, back behind the wheel I got, and to my surprise, I felt reasonably comfortable!  Although what I had  forgotten was how totally  tedious it is when you are behind a tram and can’t get around it due to parked cars. To put this into perspective, I actually think you move slower behind a tram in Melbourne then you do when trying to make your way on foot through Times Square.

5. Food prices are out of this world. A lunch special in Melbourne that might be $10.00 would offer you a stir fry or a noodle soup, whereas in America you could find for the same price (or less) an appetizer, main and drink. Breakfast out costs around $20.00-$25.00 (and there are no unlimited cocktails connected to this like the brunch menus in NYC), followed by lunch and dinner prices sky rocketing up from that.

Dining out can be very expensive in Australia

I went into a sports supplement shop and had a bit of a laugh with the salesmen that their cheapest bar was $3.00 and the others were up at $6.50. Basically, the bars that were $3.00 here would be $1.50 (approximately) in the USA, and the $6.50 bars might be down at $2.70-$3.20 in the USA. My response when they asked if I would like to buy one was “no thank you, I think I’m better off sticking with whole food at that price, or potentially even just a can of tuna at that rate” (and just for the record, no, I am not a plain broccoli and tuna or chicken person who doesn’t like a bit more flavour to my food!).

Formulated products can be very expensive in Australia.. You could get a whole meal for that price in the USA

6. Being back in my room, in suburbia, its amazing how improved your sleeping quality can become! I think I had almost forgotten what it was like to go to sleep without hearing screaming from the bars below your room, trucks driving past, or construction going on outside.  Don’t get me wrong, this is one of NYC’s ‘charms’, but lets just say I am feeling far more well rested these days!

One of the perks of being home in suburbia- seeing my little man every day!

The list could probably go on, but I think you get the gist!

Being true to myself, I wanted to scope out what new products were available here in Australia since I’ve been away, and it was nice to see some of the formulated healthier, or more ‘weight-friendly’ products from the USA making their way to our shelves e.g. Sandwich-Thins, Chobani yoghurt, Hi-Lo cereal and Slim Pasta.

sandwich thins have made their way to our shores

Someone sending me a photo of their shopping basket which was filled with all my recommendations!

Slim pasta

It was also great to see some new Australian products finally come to life such as the BARLEYmax wraps I had been waiting to try since being involved last year with Goodness Superfoods, as well as their high fibre muesli bars (which I actually was just lucky enough to be provided a sample of given they haven’t even hit the shelves yet!).

BARLEYmax high fibre wraps are at Safeway now

Travelling Dietitian enjoying Melbourne sunshine and a BARLEYmax muesli bar that is yet to be released!

Having numerous four course family meals to celebrate traditional cultural events, as well as entertaining one of my best friends from interstate for a weekend during the AFL grand final, one could feel that this may lead to a complete destruction of their healthy eating ways.

Friend and I out for a delicious Thai dinner on Chapel St

Some of the many tasty Thai dishes out at dinner

but wait, there’s more!

BBQ being served at our AFL grand final viewing – probably not what I would have been serving if I hosted the BBQ!

However, given I had said I was going to continue my new way of thinking and eating even when back in my every day life here, I followed my own advice, and made sure I listened to my appetite, rather than my eyes. I swear, if you follow this simple trick, “balanced” eating may just finally seem far more attainable.

We ordered the salmon for lunch when we were out in the city, healthy option and tasty = win!

Tasted delicious.. Thanks Hardware Societe

Just hanging out in the kitchen at the restaurant…as you do!

After eight months of no formal exercise, I decided that given we live in a relatively sedentary promoting environment (i.e cars in suburbia, rather than walking around NYC), I should get straight back into the group exercise classes that I so utterly enjoy!

Fun in our exercise classes!

My thought process when motivation ever lapses is that if I’m paying for it, I really should use it! I guess that is my way of making a “commitment” to exercise. Some people find they need a personal trainer, a friend, or a team to be “committed” to.

Besides knowing how good I feel when I exercise, I’ve worked out that having a company take money out of my account each week, if I’m not getting anything out of it, just seems like a total waste, and a very silly decision on my behalf! So locked in I’ve gone!

Now that’s a packed body pump class!

As big changes begin to take place with my work, I am excited, and curious. Some may feel nervous at this stage, however I’d like to think that that will get me nowhere, so I am selecting to avoid that emotion!

Getting ready to present at one of my clients…very lucky to love my job!

It’s interesting being home.. everyone has always said that when you go away, you come back to the same world (i.e nothing much changes), and a part of that is true, however what people fail to mention is that you might change. You might come back with a different perspective on the world, or what is important to you, and how you merge the new you with the old world is definitely a hurdle that must be overcome.

My world has definitely changed, not coming home to my old apartment, not returning to the same relationship, and now selecting to not return to some of my old work ventures, I can confidently say, moving forward and starting a fresh can be very invigorating.

The number one question I have had since returning, by literally every person I have spoken to, has got to have been” how long are you staying for? / When are you going back to NYC?” My reply each and every single time…”I haven’t made any plans, I would like to see what opportunities arise in each city, and I am genuinely happy to be in either Melbourne or NYC!” I think it’s a nice head space to be in.. Maybe that’s just me though!?

In my next post I will be sure to share some of the exciting new health and nutrition related work projects I am undertaking.

For now,

As I always say, we keep on keeping on,

The Travelling Dietitian x


About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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