Sunday thoughts

It’s been a fairly “different” week for me. I didn’t make it to what is normally my favourite training session due to a late external training evening I had to run at work, though I actually managed to get a decent calf and ankle strengthening session in. Then the following night I was looking forward to a tough session to end the year but a niggle in my hip finally came to an end and I had to end up on Ben’s massage table… luckily my facial muscles got a good workout as I winced and grimaced through the treatment. Finally, I attended my work Christmas party which meant no training that night. At 4.30am the next day I was in a taxi on my way to the station, and about 5 hours later I was in France. Since then I have been catching up on sleep, feeding my brain with TED talks, getting back in to stretching, and reconnecting with my granddad. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten, so I’m looking forward to seeing some changes in my outlook, training, and so on, when I get back into it all.

New things I have learnt this week

  1. I have consistently noticed that on nights when I sleep less, I weigh more in the mornings. Ben has also informed me that on those days I might also find that I am ever so slightly shorter. Both of these could be due to the body not having time to complete its fluid redistribution processes. As if I needed any more encouragement to get my full 8 hours of sleep!
  2. Extremely low carbohydrate intake (less than 21% of total calories) can lower cell pH levels – due to higher levels of fats and protein, which are more acidic by nature – and this more acidic environment may contribute to feelings of fatigue. Previously I had just assumed that fewer carbohydrates equal less energy a.k.a. more fatigue. Really should have delved into that a little more!
  3. I have just learnt that L-carnitine is made of lysine and methionine.

New things I have eaten this week

  1. I have eaten a few different foods this week as my mum is cooking for me and is a lot less rigid with her meals and ingredients than me. However, the only entirely new product I have tried is the Vantastic Foods Duck Breast. It’s good! Once cooked, the outside crisps up but the inside goes very moist and tender – I think I’ve only had duck once or twice in my life and I don’t think it would fool a meat-eater but it was good, a nice change from straight up seitan, tofu or tempeh.
  2. I tried some of my mum’s rhubarb chutney – it is excellent, just the right amount of tartness and sweetness to add a bit of zing to any dish, very excited to take a little jar of it back with me.
  3. Mum had made some little muffins with blueberry soy yoghurt, which are really tasty.
  4. She also made some date and walnut muffins with molasses, they are almost gingerbread-like which is just right for the season!
  5. Although mum has made this for me before, it has been a while and was most definitely a treat so I think I can list it; I had a big vegetable and tempeh puff pastry turnover thing – I am sucker for pastry!

Other highlights this week

  1. Giving my colleagues/friends their little trays of goodness – so nice to see people so touched to receive little homemade gifts, especially when they exclaim in disbelief that’s it’s all vegan.
  2. Ben raising the idea of having some fitness photos done for me… It feels very narcissistic but it would be nice to have a tangible reward for getting into the shape I’m in now (while I  work towards getting good enough to win a grappling competition, which will be the real reward – after all having a functional physique is my main priority).
  3. Getting a free coffee from the coffee shop in the building I work in, as I had 7 stamps on my loyalty card.
  4. Giving myself a new project to put together a playlist of all the songs that have shaped or influenced or in some way stood out to me throughout my life so far – there have been some interesting finds which really put a smile on my face.
  5. Putting up our Christmas tree!

Christmas treeWe’ve had the same artificial tree ever since I can remember… I remember when it was taller than me and when putting it together was a mammoth feat of engineering! I used to wish we had a real Christmas tree like my friends, now I love the fact that over the years we have essentially spared 20-odd trees from spending their last days withering away in a corner of our living room. Also, I used to hate all those straw decorations and preferred glittery baubles, but now I love the charm of our little traditional handmade decorations. Funny how perceptions change. I do miss having a cat around to wreak havoc and destroy the decorations though.

Other things I plan to do this week are: attempt to make vegan fudge; post a Part 2 on festive nutrition to accompany my tips for holiday maintenance training; keep working on other pages of my blog, namely my poor Favourites section which has been somewhat neglected; and post a selection of recommended TED talks and articles.

If you are passing by and having a look at this third installment of my Sunday thoughts, I’d love to know what the highlights of your week were, and what you are looking forward to in the coming week… The last few days of 2012!