A day of fun, fights, and food

To say I’m a creature of habit would be an understatement.

However, every so often I manage to unfurl myself from my little nest of comfort and actually take advantage of the fact that I am young and have pretty much everything going for me at the moment. Hence why last weekend I decided to return to Southampton for the first time in two years, to visit my first Thai boxing gym and help out at their fight show.

Being at that gym felt like being part of a big family, and returning after two years without contact was no different. However, one thing was different: no packed lunches for the helpers. This caused a huge (gently mocking) uproar, as Rachel was famous for her lovingly put together packed lunches consisting of little brown bags containing a couple of rolls, a packet of crisps, a piece of fruit or two, a bottle of water and some sort of treat. She always made more than enough vegan snack bags with little hummus and tomato rolls, and never neglected to include a treat of a dairy-free milk chocolate bar or dairy-free chocolate buttons. Luckily she warned us in advance that she would not have time to make them this year, so I had a chance to prepare. And if you’ve been on here before, you’ll know that’s kinda my thing.

So to show that I do practice what I preach, I thought it might be interesting to see what I pack with me for a day when I am up at 6am to get the first train to Southampton, running around checking fighters in, taking tickets on the door, watching fights, and back on the train for a two-hour journey before getting home at 10.30pm.

1/2 scoop Nature’s Whey Ignite Ultra-V MintChoc flavour

1 peanut butter and banana sandwich: rye bread, peanut butter on one side, half a mashed banana on the other side, the rest of the banana sliced in the middle and sprinkled with cinnamon – cut in half and each half wrapped separately, had one on the train at about 7.30am and one a little later at 10.30am

1 Vegi-Deli Sage&Onion slice sandwich with mixed leaves and tahini: found those slices lurking in Morrisons among a whole range of Quorn items so felt like it was my duty to rescue a pack. They don’t look so appealing in the packet but damn they were good! Sandwich consisted of rye bread, a thin covering of tahini on both sides, a bed of mixed baby leaf salad, a generous layer of sage&onion slices (I think I used about five or six of them), another small layer of leaves, a sprinkle of Tabasco sauce and some cracked black pepper – again, cut in half and wrapped separately, had one half about 2.30pm and the other at about 6pm

At some point I also nibbled my way through a small bar of Ombar Probiotic Dark 72% Chocolate and 1 apple.

As I was already taking my shaker, I had also packed a little container of 1 scoop of pea protein and 1 scoop of chocolate soy protein.

That got me happily through the day, never overly hungry nor having that feeling so many people, myself included, complain about after spending a day out nibbling away at high-energy food (junk or not).

When I got home after 10.30pm I did throw together the rest of my baby leaf salad with the oil from some sundried tomatoes (instant seasoning!) and some nutritional yeast, and followed up with a hot chocolate (which is really just a protein shake with some milk heated up – sounds odd but as I have got my mixing and heating method down to a tee it actually goes quite creamy and frothy and is really quite pleasant).

So there you go, no reason to feel like my feathers have been ruffled just from a change in routine – and may I point out that as I worked on Saturday and then went out for dinner (GBK – asked for their “GBK salad” with added falafel as I didn’t feel like a burger but also didn’t feel like just having a salad, and had it with their chilli ginger dressing which is vegan – very impressed at how obliging they were), I got home at about 8.30pm needing to shower, unpack my bag from the day and repack it for the next day, and then make my food, knowing I had to get up at 6am the following morning. Just another day in the life of a healthy-eating money-saving vegan.

Speaking of which, this week’s lunch boxes are filled with spelt fusilli with a tomato sauce of Morrisons own meat-free mince, red and yellow peppers, red lentils and tomato (salt and paprika as seasonings). I’m also adding a couple of spoonfuls of nutritional yeast to each box. Was very pleasantly surprised with today’s lunch, somehow got all the consistencies and tastes and textures just right, and it was so easy!

Time to see what is happening on all the gorgeous vegan food blogs that I only wish I could rival; Oh She Glows, A Dash of Compassion, Have Cake Will Travel and Vegan Flavorista. Of course there are many, many more amazing and inspiring blogs out there, I discover a new one every day, but I think those are the ones I will be visiting tonight as I still have to update my training log.

Next post will be: my vegan birthday treats! I have a whole box-full of goodies which I actually remembered to take photos of… sadly the incredible cake that my colleague made me did not last long enough to be immortalised.

(A quick update on Ben’s vegan experiment as he nears the end of his first full week on a plant-based diet: he is feeling good, much sharper mentally, but the novelty of a new diet has worn off and now he would really like all the non-vegan foods he is craving! However, he is enjoying cooking healthy food for himself and I have never seen him so enthusiastic about cooking and eating. He has been doing a lot of research and has found some overwhelmingly impressive evidence in favour of adopting increasingly plant-based diets, including Mark Bittman’s incredible TED talk and David at Raptitude‘s own 30-day vegan experiment. He is now considering reducing or eliminating red meat and dairy from his diet, as it has become apparent how much better his body functions without them. If only everyone listened to their bodies as well as he does.)

I know that bit was all in brackets and italics almost asking to be ignored, but if you do nothing else today/tonight/tomorrow, go watch that talk and read that blog. They will answer every question anyone could ever ask me about how and why I am vegan.