Sunday thoughts

Oh dear, it’s been a whole week again since I last posted… This time though, I do have a legitimate excuse that it has been an absolutely hectic week. An up-at-6-am, lunchbreaks-are-a-thing-of-the-past, working-on-a-Saturday kind of week. I have barely had time to think, let alone blog.

It has been a strange week, training-wise. After an amazing double session on Sunday (grappling followed by strength & conditioning), I was left barely able to move on Monday. A tough session of takedowns on Monday saw me pretty much just wilt in Monday’s end-of-class sparring, which resulted in me being shouted at a lot. So not a high point by any means, but always nice to take it there every once in a while.

By Tuesday everything hurt too much to do anything, so I did a good, old-fashioned chest and triceps session with a token shoulder exercise and it actually went really well. So you can imagine how I was feeling Wednesday.

Maybe it was the previous 3 days of training, or maybe it was the fact that I had had to get up at 6am, do a public presentation, wheel/carry a speaker back to the office, then spent the afternoon working frantically, but Wednesday’s strength and conditioning did not go well. Actually, that’s a lie. Everything went fairly well except for the plyometric legs circuit. It was far from brutal, normally something I would smash, but none of me was moving fast and I could barely reach an acceptable depth in any squatting motions.

Luckily I decided to give myself Thursday off, and Friday ended the working week (despite the whole having-to-work-on-a-Saturday thing) with an excellent and enjoyable session – takedowns, again, but this time against the cage – in which I felt unexpectedly strong and focussed.

All in all, Saturday evening hadn’t felt that good in a long time, coming home to a delicious dinner cooked by Ben from his new cookbook Vegan Indian Cooking by Anupy Singla (spiced tofu with oven-roasted masala spiced cashews, and spiced potatoes and spinach), my soft and warm new lounging clothes, and lots of tea.

But let’s get down to the real point of a Sunday Thoughts post!

New things I have learnt this week

Argh, I don’t think I have learnt anything related to health and fitness this week! Having said that, I didn’t even have time to reply to emails this week so that’s not much of a surprise. Disappointing though. Especially as I have a feeling I did find something out and think, “Yes! That’s perfect for my Sunday review!” and then forgot it. I was trying to avoid writing stuff down as I went through the week, in order to stimulate myself to remember, but I think I may need to start! Knowledge is strength, after all.

New things I have eaten this week

  1. Cavolo nero – I had heard and read a lot about it, but I think it just seemed a bit too nice for my usual meals of “throw a bunch of different coloured, different textured things in a pan, leave it for 10mins, add some hot sauce, eat”. But as I did my shopping fairly late on a Saturday evening this was the only green I could find, so I thought why not? I’m so glad I did! Much milder and more tender than curly kale, but offering more of a bang than spinach, there was so much more to this cabbage than an alluring colour, an exotic name, and an impressive portfolio of nutritional qualities. I remember the first time I tried curly kale, being less than impressed… I wish I had tried cavolo nero first!
  2. Pulsin Soya Protein Isolate – well on its own it’s hard to judge, as I for one will certainly never find unflavoured protein pleasant. However, it was bearable with just a bit of cinnamon and some Sweet Freedom sweetener, so that’s a good sign. More importantly, 1 scoop added to 1 scoop of MyProtein Vegan Blend makes the latter mix much, much better. Can’t say I would rate it much higher than any other unflavoured soy protein isolate I have tried, but it’s certainly at least a joint first with any other that hasn’t offended my palate.
  3. Rich Tea biscuits – somehow only just found out a couple of days ago that these are vegan! I have to say, their texture is a bit weird, being somewhere between a cream cracker and a Digestive, but I can see why people prefer these with tea as they keep their shape much better when dunked. This is a biscuit for dunking if ever there was one, and I am a reluctant dunker! Having said that, I’m down with any excuse to make hot chocolate.
  4. Sweet Freedom (Dark) – I have used these fruit sweetener syrups several times in baking, but this is the first time I actually tried a bit of it on its own (long story short; protein delivery was late, ended up with only unflavoured soy protein, decided a spoonful of fruit sweetener would help the protein go down)
  5. Marks and Spencer fajita spice – I hate to say it, but this wasn’t nearly as good as the Old El Paso fajita spice sachets. I do turn my nose up and ready-made spice mixes, but the fajita spices sachets are really pretty handy (and anyway, we only use them when Ben makes fajitas, so my cooking history is thus far unblemished from that point of view). This sachet however didn’t pack nearly as strong a flavour punch – just vaguely spicy, and almost overly salty and oniony. Disappointing, but live and learn eh?

Other highlights this week

  1. Despite a few hiccups, it’s been a good week of training. The highlight of the week would probably be hitting a sweet takedown which I don’t think my partner was making it easy for me to get – started on a single, tried to switch for a double, when that failed went back to the single and swung round holding the leg nice and tight until I found myself in top position. It was smooth and easy which is what good timing feels like!
  2. Getting to wear my new backpack, which fits so much without getting stupidly bulky, and also my new over-the-knee boots, and finally my big new jacket which is the perfect shield against the building cold snap.
  3. Getting a free dinner at Nando’s (there are a number of vegan options, but that night I just had a couscous salad… and stole some of Ben’s peri chips). I was reluctant to go because, well, it’s Nando’s. But I had no food in the fridge and we hadn’t been in a while, and I hadn’t seen much of Ben up until that point this week, so I figured why not. We have no idea why they didn’t charge us. The guy at the till just said, “It’s been taken care of”. I think maybe the mystery is what makes it even better!

I think that’s about it so far for this week. I am now going to go and make some sort of lunches for the week – quinoa is cooked, now need to investigate what else is in the fridge – and then try and wrap up my collection of goodies to send out for this month’s UK Vegan Food Swap! Hopefully I will find a good documentary to take me through the night as I have dinner, drink copious amounts of tea, and maybe crack out the knitting again. I do love my Sunday evenings, even though Monday morning looms dangerously close!

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