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Atasa Moceituba
Friday, October 13, 2017

WHEN it comes to vegetables and fruits shopping Patricia Mallam's first choice is always the Suva Municipal Market.

Mallam attended the University of the South Pacific and holds a double major in Geography and Tourism. She is pursuing a Masters in Tourism Sustainability to be completed at Central Queensland University in Australia.

She is a certified Communications Management Professional, a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and is also a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council and Graduate Women Fiji.

Mallam is a single parent of 13-year-old Irris.

She lives with two dogs: Cairo Titanium (Maltese) and Zarra Fox Titanium (miniature Pinscher).

Mallam has three brothers and a sister and believes in the principles of the Baha'i Faith.

The Mallam's vegetable shopping are done on a weekly basis every Saturday mornings while groceries shopping are done once a month.

She says she prefers to do her grocery shopping at Shop N Save Supermarket, Cost U Less and NewWorld IGA because they have the specific products that she needs for her dietary needs and goods are reasonably priced.

"Surprisingly the perception is that some supermarkets are more expensive than others because of their layout, displays and overall presentation but I've found that it's not the case with these stores," Mallam said.

"I've found some of the other supermarkets who market themselves as 'affordable' to have higher prices, so it's good to have a sense for the market price of certain goods before you go shopping."

She said their vegetables list included broccoli, celery, pawpaws, bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, French beans, long beans, and the three different types of cabbage, kumala, cucumbers, ginger, turmeric, chillies, dhania and any other seasonal fruit.

Groceries from the supermarket includes oats, almond milk, peanut butter, brown basmati rice, whole grain pasta, whole peeled tomatoes, rice cakes, olive oil (spray), kidney beans, herbs, garlic, onions, beetroot, mushrooms, carrots, chick peas, raw unsweetened cocoa powder, Milo, nuts and seeds, couscous, seaweed crackers, corn chips, cheeses, dog treats, toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Mallam said they spent $40 to $50 on vegetables while $250 to $300 on groceries, seafood, fish and meat such as chicken breast, prawns, eggs, fresh fish (qoliqoli cokovata) and premium fresh wahu.

"I place a huge importance on food choices. Portion control is even more important because even if you have all the right food, you can still overeat and border on being unhealthy.

"I'm a pescatarian so it's important to ensure I eat lots of protein, and it also means that sometimes I'm prepping two completely different meals."

The single mother who is also a bodybuilding athlete said meals and prep were an important part of her life now, because it has to complement the training program she's on.

"So I'm used to having six meals a day and 95 per cent of the time when I'm not training, these meals are prepared at home and carted everywhere I go."

She said they had a generic weekly meal plan that they followed.

"It makes everything easier having meal plans because I'm not wasting time or money on shopping for things I don't need."

Mallam said she always checked the newspapers for specials because you could do a comparison before you left home and you knew exactly the average cost of goods as they may vary from supermarket to supermarket.

She added that it was important for the public to read the label for nutrition information and ingredients.

"I use a barcode reader to get macros from the products I buy. I also learned to always have a shopping list and never go shopping on an empty stomach, if not you run into the danger of buying unnecessary items."

The family shopping is done by her but sometimes she takes Irris, Cairo and Zarra on rare occasions.

Mallam said most of her foods were either raw or half cooked but her all-time favourite included a hearty fish and bele soup (infused with lemon grass, ginger, and garlic).

"One of the guiding principles of my life is to be sustainable and opt for a low carbon lifestyle as much as practical. This is what prompted me to stop eating meat (chicken and other cattle) because of how they're reared, unethical harvest methods and the impact grazing has on carbon emissions and deforestation."

She said she stopped consuming animal products five years ago but also consumed seafood only if it had been sustainably sourced and had used a good post-harvest control method.

Apart from her tight schedule she said she had been preparing to enter a bodybuilding competition for the past two years because it's been a personal goal to enter a competition at 35.

A couple of weekends ago Mallam stepped on stage in a sparkly bikini (which she says cost her an arm and leg). She competed in the Mr and Ms Suva Classics' Bikini Category. Mallam said her goal was to compete in Australia next year.

"I haven't been comfortable in a bikini post pregnancy due to stretch marks and just shyness but I've spent a lot of time trying to overcome that and bodybuilding has helped."

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