Birthday cake


Today is my 40th birthday and I decided to mark the occasion by documenting a snapshot of what my life and thoughts look like at the moment.


When I was a kid I didn’t have a clear image of what I wanted to be as an adult. My earliest memories involve pretending to be a drummer and a chef/restaurateur. However, I grew up with the idea that I had follow a traditional academic path and end up in some sort of managerial role.

At this stage, my life is not textbook-perfect: I’ll never have kids, I don’t have a car, I will probably never own a home and can’t see myself as a manager, and that’s all fine. I think it’s more important to do what you want to do instead of what is expected. The first step to wisdom, IMO, is knowing yourself.


Back in 2011 I decided to experiment with the paleo diet (gasp!) and discovered by accident that gluten was triggering some of my health issues (reflux, joint pain and allergic reactions to pork). I continued eating paleo for a few years and then reintroduced some foods such as dairy (mainly cheese, yoghurt and some cream), rice and legumes, all of which work fine for me from a health perspective. A lower carb approach works better for my body composition goals and energy levels.

My diet these days is more akin to Tim Ferriss’ slow carb diet, with some legumes and very few high-starch foods such as rice and potatoes. I have also implemented his advice of 30g of protein within 30-60 minutes of waking up, most days in the form of 3 eggs + baby spinach + kimchi +/- a tablespoon of lentils or homemade mayonnaise.

I do eat gluten-free bread and treats (including beer!) occasionally. I cook the bulk of our food because I believe that’s the best way of ensuring you’re getting quality food in your body. I post most of my lunches on my Instagram page.

The only supplements I take regularly are protein powder (usually whey protein isolate) after lifting and collagen hydrolysate most days to help with tissue repair.


My current liquid intake, in order of prevalence, goes like this: water, coffee, tea, red wine, gin & soda. Cider, gluten-free beer and sparkling wine appear here and there but their contribution by volume is negligible.


Even though injuries and other circumstances have kept me away from competing, I haven’t stopped weightlifting because I still enjoy the technicality and challenges of the sport. I do not enjoy getting injured but hey, that’s part of the package.

I started doing Krav Maga in November last year, initially to get back to martial arts and use it as conditioning for my lifting. I fell in love with Krav, especially because of its practicality in real life and the philosophy behind it: learn to defend yourself in order to protect others. Very Buddhist IMO.

Right now my routine looks like this:

  • Weightlifting 3x week
  • Krav Maga 3x week
  • Yoga 0-1x week
  • Swimming 0-1x week

I use a foam roller and a lacrosse ball most days to work on tight spots and get chiropractic/physio care and massages when needed.

Last but not least: meditation and sleep

10 years ago I started my Buddhist practice and I have managed to meditate almost every single day. Of course I’m still eons away from enlightenment but I can tell the methods work on everyday life.

Anyone who has ever tried to work late or party with me knows that I’m not a night person. I go to bed early and require 7-8.5 hours of sleep to function properly.

Final thoughts

Here I am at 40, healthier than what I was the first ~26 years of my life. I don’t know what to expect in the next 5-10 years but fingers crossed it won’t be a downhill journey just yet.

Review: Yiamas Greek Taverna (St Peters)

I’ve usually celebrated my birthday at home, but my current shortage of resources (time & money) meant this year it was best to eat out. Several months ago Al and I went indoor climbing and I noticed a Greek restaurant in our way back home, close to Sydney Park. We didn’t go in because we felt under-dressed for the place. It didn’t look that fancy but our sweaty workout outfits were more suitable for a takeaway kinda deal.

A few weeks later I saw Helen’s post about that very same restaurant and I knew I had to add it to my wishlist. Finally I got to try Yiamas Greek Taverna on my birthday.

Bonnie, Gladys, Al and I shared a bunch of dishes, which I was allowed to choose. First came a large Greek salad, fresh, tasty, and good-sized.

Greek salad

Greek salad ($18.50 large)

Next came the chargrilled octopus, which wasn’t the most tender I’ve had, but it was tasty for sure.

Chargrilled octopus

Chargrilled octopus ($18.50)

Next was something I usually look for in menus: sweet breads (glykadia in Greek). The tasty little morsels had been pan-fried to achieve a golden, almost crunchy exterior which contrasted with their soft texture.


Glykadia ($16.50)

Two kondosouvli plates, with meat from spit roast, completed our meal. You can choose lamb, pork or chicken, we opted for a bit of everything. Each plate costed $21.90 and was worth every cent. The meats were super tender and flavourful, perhaps a little heavy on the salt but nothing that couldn’t be washed off with a sip of wine.

Vicky, Andrey and Neil order set menu 1, which at $38 per person turned out to be great value for their money. The meal included Greek salad, tzatziki (yoghurt dip), tarama (roe dip), pan-fried haloumi cheese, loukaniko (grilled spicy sausage), eggplant saganaki (grilled eggplant in tomato & feta), and pork souvlakia from the spit roast served on chips. Appart from stuffed, they looked very happy with the food.

Bread, tzatziki, tarama

Bread, tzatziki, tarama (part of set menu 1)

Eggplant saganaki

Eggplant saganaki (part of set menu 1)


Haloumi (part of set menu 1)


Calamari (part of set menu 1)


Loukaniko (part of set menu 1)

Max ordered lamb souvlakia (skewers) served with 1 dip, pita bread, and salad.


Souvlakia ($26.90)

Jane and Gary ordered the kondosouvli plate for 1, with lamb, pork and/or chicken from the spit roast, served with 1 dip, pita bread, chips, and salad. They also ordered horta, endives in olive oil and lemon, which unfortunately left them uninpressed.

Kondosouvli plate for 1

Kondosouvli plate for 1 (from the spit roast) $28.50


Horta ($11)

Susy and José ordered the kondosouvli plate for 2, same deal as the one Jane and Gary ordered, but twice as big. Needless to say, they couldn’t finish it and were happily assisted by a big Russian.

Kondosouvli plate for 2

Kondosouvli plate for 2 ($53.90)

Although dinner and wine were plentiful, there was still room for birthday cake: a Paleo chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache, topped with fresh blueberries & raspberries. As if the double cream in the ganache was not enough, some of us ate it with more cream on the side.

B'day cake

B’day cake

Yiamas Greek Taverna
1-5 Princes Highway
St Peters NSW 2044
(02) 9517 9492

Yiamas Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Birthday day

Today’s my birthday. Lots of cooking and eating in my to-do list for today. The corresponding posts will come soon(ish), after I’m done with day 2 of the World Chef Showcase and a restaurant review. Thanks for the good wishes in the past few days and see you soon!