Sunday thoughts

This week has been a bit of a non-event, but I don’t say that in a negative way. I got back on top of things at work and at home, and although I have still not lost the little bit of weight I put on a couple of weeks ago (we’re talking a kilo here, so I’m not exactly contemplating drastic action – or any action at all really – just waiting to see if it fluctuates back into place) I am feeling healthier and less bloated.

I got plenty of good training in, including three grappling sessions and my first climbing session ever, enjoyed some delicious packed lunches courtesy of Ben, had plenty of lie-ins as well as one late (but productive and surprisingly peaceful) evening in the office, a Thursday off, and a busy Saturday of which half was spent working. I also got to visit Karma Free Pizza again for the first time in a few weeks, see a colleague (turned friend) I hadn’t seen in ages, meet up with another friend I hadn’t seen yet this year, see my the rest of my friends briefly, see Example in concert at Earl’s Court, try a new salad at Giraffe, and watch the first female UFC fight ever. So plenty of good things, most of them concentrated in less than 48 hours of weekend.

New things I have learnt this week

  • After we tried a laughter yoga session at work, I thought I would have a little read of the various health benefits of laughter. We know that “laughter is the best medecine”, but I was curious how much actual research had been done on the subject. Most of the articles that crop up deal with the idea that laughter raises discomfort or pain thresholds, a few touch on the relationship between immunity and laughter, and the vast majority of the more mainstream articles you find will give you an amazing list of health benefits, but this slightly more comprehensive article notes that other emotional states, such as anger or sadness, have been found to have a similar pain-relieving effect on subjects – which is possibly the most interesting notion I came across in my research. Other than this, there’s no real evidence that there is any significant link between regular laughter and key components of sound physical health such as blood pressure or a functional immune system. Don’t get me wrong, laughter is important in so many ways and we all need to make sure we are getting more of it in our lives – if nothing else, it is a good indicator that you are happy at that moment in time, and acknowledging that will reinforce your overall good mood, which will help you deal with difficult or stressful situations better at that moment – but let’s just be content with its psychological and social benefits and accept that we will need to do more to keep our physical health in check.

New things I have eaten this week

  • I tried the homemade trail mix that Christine sent me in my UK Vegan Food Swap box – delicious! I must find out where she got the vegan nougat from! (P.S. when I say “tried”… a more accurate way to put it would be that I destroyed the entire bag in two sittings. I may as well admit it.)
  • I finally tried out MyProtein’s Hemp Protein. I first tried it mixed with vanilla soy protein, which was fine if a bit lumpy from the soy, so I thought I would at least give it a shot on its own. A shot was all it got, as I took a tiny sip and then spat it out. Vile stuff. Not quite as bad as the first time I tried unflavoured pea protein a few years ago though!
  • As my team at work have been smashing our targets (well I’ve got to feel proud of something when I’m not getting PBs in the gym…) we went out for a celebratory team lunch at Marie’s Cafe on Lower Marsh. Lower Marsh, just around the corner from Waterloo Station, has some frankly good food on offer, and all for a decent price – normally about a fiver for a filling and tasty meal, with a wide variety to choose from and plenty of vegan options. I had heard a lot about Marie’s Cafe, which looks like a typical greasy spoon but which also serves Thai food, and got super excited as I read the reviews – I can’t say I have often seen such unanimous praise of any eatery in London! Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed – maybe going for the set menu was my mistake, as I got a bit less of everything. The food was good, not overly greasy or salty, and cheap, but I’d have liked a bit more of it, and some tofu would have been nice!
  • Figured as it was Vegan Food Swap week I had better try at least two items from my parcel, so I dug right into the (whole…) bar of pink peppercorn chocolate from Le Pain Quotidien. The chocolate was good, and the pink peppercorn fragrance was strong and bold, but unfortunately I can’t say I thought they went particularly well together. Maybe I’m just missing something? I’m looking forward to the Earl Grey version of it though, as the chocolate was noticeably good quality.
  • Although I am past pretending that I need an excuse to eat chocolate, I did try out Morrison’s own brand (“The Best” range) of dark chocolate with orange purely because it was on offer – I hadn’t bothered trying it before as it was more expensive than other supermarket own brands, and only a bit cheaper than better brands. However, I am impressed with it, it is perfectly good chocolate and they surprisingly didn’t skimp on the chewy chunks of candied orange!
  • Ben and I quite enjoy eating at Giraffe which, although it is a big chain, do offer some really nice and varied dishes. I’m not a big fan of ordering salads when I go out, but I have to say I always really enjoy their salads. We haven’t been for a while, mainly because I wasn’t too impressed with their menu over the last few months, but they had a really tasty fresh salad on the menu – I can’t remember what was in it, I just remember it being very “salady” (i.e. lots of raw crunchy stuff) but the dressing being lovely and light and fragrant. Since Ben and I always get the Hummus, Babaganoush & Mixed Olives Sharing Platter as a starter along with their Sweet Potato Fries which are to die for, I’m usually quite happy just to have a salad and feel that that is quite a healthy yet delicious vegan meal! They appear to now have a vegan dessert too – sorbet with mango and strawberry coulis! Yes, not as exciting as a cheesecake, but nice to have an option (and one that isn’t just sorbet).

Other highlights this week

  • The whole weekend – it was busy but not manic. I got to see my friends, see Ben, have some nice food, see a 15,000-ticket concert from backstage, watch the UFC, and then have a good, long, solid sleep.  Other than that, nothing really stood out to me but that’s not an issue for me.

I’m not too sure what to expect for this week. I haven’t really thought about work yet so I don’t know if it’s going to be stressful or not, but I do have dinner plans with a group of colleagues (also turned friends) on Friday so I’m looking forward to that. I feel like I had a tough training session today, so I’m hoping for some quality training this week.

I’d love to hear how everyone else’s week went, so do share in the comments, make me smile (or laugh, even if we now know it won’t have any significant impact on my physical health – but I think with the vegan thing and the training thing and the whole being-in-my-early-20s thing I should have that pretty much covered for now)!