Sunday thoughts

Another busy week – possibly the busiest week for me in about 6 months, and I can’t say I dealt with it particularly well! I can barely remember last Monday this week has been so long and busy, and I was in soulless mechanical work-mode all week just to get things done. I did watch a TED talk on mindfulness at one point, mainly just to remind myself to slow down for fear of burning out before the weekend!

Training suffered a bit, as my mind wandered and my body wasn’t getting the sort of recovery it needed, but I managed to keep my diet and treats under control, so now that I have had some sleep and rest and remembered what is good in life I am feeling human again.

New things I have learnt this week

  • Again, I haven’t really had time to do much research or thinking about anything, but I did read quite an interesting article on coconut oil trying to dispel some of the rather incredible claims the health and fitness industry makes about coconut’s oil supposed health benefits. Basically, as you might suspect, it’s not necessarily the saintly fat source people say it is. The article gives an interesting breakdown of the chemical composition of coconut oil and points out that it is a medium-chain triglyceride, which have been shown to have metabolic enhancing properties among other health benefits. However, the article makes a good point that no fat source is purely composed of one type of triglycerides, so it is impossible to say that coconut oil will have all the health benefits of a triglyceride. Please note this isn’t a peer-reviewed study, so it is really no more reliable than the studies it is denigrating! However, the bottom line is: no food offers all the answers, all fats remain fats, all fats contain 9kcal per gram therefore should be limited in a calorie-controlled diet, and don’t believe everything you read! (As for me, I will continue using coconut oil, as well as olive oil, and that Carotino oil I picked up on sale to try out – as well as eating peanuts, almonds, walnuts, flax seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocados, and ensuring a healthy mix of different fat sources)

New things I have eaten this week

  • Redwood VegiDeli Gourmet Meat Free Mince: Wow, this was so much better than supermarket own brand meat-free mince! Well. Actually. It had a less mince-like texture (from my vague recollections of mince, and from what I can tell by looking at it), and maybe even a less mince-like taste, but it was so much more decadent than the cheap frozen stuff. Much greasier and more tender – much more delicious in a relatively dry vegetable dish, but it does lead me to wonder if it may be a bit lost in a sauce… Either way, a fantastic product!
  • Nakd Bar – Rhubarb & Custard: I was really surprised at how much rhubarb flavour came through in this, but then somewhat disappointed at discovering that there doesn’t seem to be any rhubarb in it! I just find it a bit odd that in a product that claims to be nothing but natural ingredients and wholefoods, they then list “… and a hint of natural flavouring” as an ingredient. I’m no fear-mongering anti-flavourings sort of person, but I do think if you’re going to make your whole ethos that you want to showcase wholefoods and fruit and vegetable products, you should maybe find a way to incorporate dried rhubarb into your rhubarb-flavoured bar? However, I really enjoyed this bar and would probably buy it again so all’s well that ends well!
  • Itsu Potsu – Superbowl 7 Veg with ithai brown rice: Make sure you ask for it without honey cashews! Delicious bowl of vegetables and tofu (well, one or two pieces hiding in there) in a lemongrass-coconut sauce, with perfectly-cooked fragrant brown and wild rice. Topped with as much sriracha as you like! I do cynically hate these sorts of “come in, don’t hold back, it’s all super-healthy” lunch places, but it is good to know there is a tasty, fairly wholesome, vegan, and surprisingly not too expensive (a fiver) option out there. Plus they have a nice selection of teas (I had the sencha green tea) which they serve you in a lovely little glass pot, and offer free refills on!
  • Living Food of St Ives Raw Chocolate Festive Pie: This is possibly one of the strangest things I have ever eaten. I have to say, it totally hit the spot tonight after an unexpectedly tough training session, as I sat on the Tube on my way to a friend’s. Don’t be fooled by its size, this thing gives you bang for your buck!

Other highlights this week

  • Getting my UK Vegan Food Swap parcel!
  • Seeing my friends again on a cold, rainy, dreary Saturday… being able to sit aimlessly over coffee and chat effortlessly is just about my favourite thing ever!
  • Being able to sleep for 12 hours on Friday night after an exhausting week.
  • Getting my hair done and feeling a bit more human after a week of hair being wrapped up in a scarf and shoved under a hat.
  • Finally receiving my official NSCA-CPT certificate and paperwork.

When you put it that way… not too bad a week really, though I totally would not have said that a couple of days ago! Just spent the evening hanging out with friends, quite happy to vegetate for a bit after training, and now just come home to a very-quickly-thrown-together and unexpectedly perfectly cooked and seasoned dinner:

Tempeh, broccoli, coconut milk late-night stir-fry

I got home at 10:15 and wasn’t sure whether to bother with dinner at that time or not. But I got pretty hungry, so I threw together 4 mushrooms, half a red pepper, a handful of broccoli florets, and 100g of frozen tempeh. I then splashed some soy sauce over it, left it to simmer while I battled with the worst can opener in the world, then finally poured half a can of coconut milk over it. Left it again while I put some laundry on, unpacked my bag, got changed, and made some tea, sprinkled some madras curry powder over everything, stirred, ignored it a little longer while I sorted out my tea, and when I returned to it everything had perfectly simmered and almost caramelised – I can’t believe how perfectly it all cooked, this is possibly one of the best dishes of its kind I have made, and all in about 15 minutes including time spent doing other things.

I do love Sunday evenings, apart from the whole Monday-looming-dangerously-close thing!