Sunday thoughts

Not really a huge amount to say about this week. It has been a good week in terms of work, not such a great week in terms of training. After a worse-than-average training session last Sunday, I have been feeling quite tired all week, and it didn’t help that I hurt my neck on Monday night and struggling with it all week.

However, I have been on quite a productivity kick this week, which is nice every so often (now I just need to make sure it doesn’t take over my soul).

New things I have learnt this week

  • It seems I was a bit late on the uptake on this, but I have just found out that the “animal protein leaching calcium from bones” theory was a total myth! I never used it as an argument for veganism anyway, as I am not primarily vegan for health reasons and I see no need to gratuitously vilify non-vegan diets, but I had heard it and it is nice to see a respected vegan dietician refute the claims. A quick look at another abstract suggests that it is the proportion of protein in relation to carbohydrates in the diet which may be to blame for high acid levels, which in turn are linked to lower calcium balance. Again, all of this just reinforces what I have said before about it not being so much the sources of your macronutrients that count, but the nutrients themselves. Of course, there is one caveat in that animal protein tends to be more acidic, therefore increasing the chance of high calcium excretion, but that is not the issue here. Enjoy a varied and balanced diet – preferably vegan but not crucially so – and lift some weights and you should be fine. And ignore anyone who tells you anything is more complicated than that (the best option here is to smile and nod, these people can’t be argued with).
  • After watching a very aesthetically odd fight between 7-foot-tall Stefan Struve and 5’10-foot-tall Mike Hunt, Ben taught me a little about somatotypes. I knew about endomorphs and ectomorphs and body type already, but I had neve been exposed to the Sheldonian somatotype chart which was interesting.
  • Ben also told me a little about the composition and characteristics of different indoor and outdoor running tracks – I totally had no idea there were so many different variations, and what difference they would make.

New things I have eaten this week

  • I had my first fortune cookie! Obviously it was nothing amazing, I mean, it’s a fortune cookie, but it is still another thing that I can no longer claim I haven’t eaten!
  • Continuing on my discovery of new products kindly picked out by Christine in my Vegan Food Swap box, I destroyed the bar of Dark Chocolate with Earl Grey Tea from Pain Quotidien. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Earl Grey chocolate, which is lucky as unfortunately it didn’t taste much like Earl Grey! However, the chocolate was really good, strong and rich and creamy – slightly gritty which is odd, in a way that reminded me of some raw chocolates, but in a weird way I quite enjoyed that! The long and short of it is that I enjoyed it, and it totally hit the spot after lunch at work!
  • On Thursday I had a presentation in a school beginning at 10am. Normally I would just have a shake, or nothing at all, when going straight to an external visit, but I knew that by 10 I would be pretty hungry, which would be a pretty bad way to start an hour-long session with a group of 16-year-olds. So I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try yet another Vegan Food Swap item; the N’Joy Oatmeal Kit! This was very exciting for someone who has never purchased so much as a single-serving sachet of porridge oats, preferring to concoct something out of cheap oats and reusable plastic containers. It was super easy – just boil the kettle upon waking up, pour the water in just before leaving, stir it, pop the lid on, and rush out the door! Oatmeal kitAfter taking a train for two stops, on the bus I took out my little sachets of toppings, mixed, and dug in – I didn’t use the brown sugar because, well, it’s just sugar, and the oats were sweetened with sugar, salt and dextrose anyway, but it was just fine without. I’m personally not a huge fan of berries in porridge, finding them slightly too tangy for the otherwise comforting, rounded, simple flavours, but it was nice to have the odd juicy bite in there, and it made it look more interesting! Although I initially was dismayed by how big the pot was compared to what I knew the serving size would be like, it was reassuring once in my bag and walking (very briskly) to the train station to know that it wasn’t about to leak out everywhere (unlike my lunch, which somehow managed to turn itself upside down during that same journey). I’m still anti added value products, but it really is a nice option for people on the go who can’t be bothered to make their own porridge mix in their own containers, and it certainly added a bit of excitement to my Thursday morning!
  • I visited Cây Tre Vietnamese restaurant on Old Street with a bunch of work friends – I was a little apprehensive because it’s Shoreditch, where you can get away with pretty much anything, and Vietnamese doesn’t tend to be overly vegan-friendly, with a heavy emphasis on shredded meats and seafood. Not only did I have a surprisingly delicious main of wokked tofu with mushrooms (the tofu was some of the best I’ve eaten in a long time – smooth and silky, perfectly cooked), but everyone else at the table enjoyed their food, so it’s not just a case of the vegan having lower expectations. I was spoilt for choice too! My only advice would be to stay away from the pho dishes, as you can’t guarantee the stock will be vegetable-based, but otherwise you can choose from crispy tofu or fresh summer rolls for starters, follows by a variety of noodle, rice or vegetable dishes. Starter, main, and side of kimchi plus a big pot of green tea came to about £18, so not bad for East London!

Other highlights this week

  • Celebrating hitting a milestone in our targets by going out for a slightly-extended lunch break and a giant cup of coffee with my team. Funny how much more relaxed you can all be when you just take a few steps out of the office and sit somewhere different!
  • I got so ridiculously excited about the weekend – I don’t know why, but I felt like I did as a child before Christmas on Thursday night and all of Friday. And you know what, it was actually really nice to get excited about something again.
  • Dinner on Saturday night was incredible – Ben made us individual cottage pies, using Redwood Vegi-Deli mince and topped with sweet potato (why would you use plain old white potato when you could use sweet potato?), followed by a fantastic apple-and-pear crumble and Swedish Glace vanilla ice cream. I now truly understand what is meant by “comfort food”!

Not a huge amount more to say about this week other than that. Next week starts with a Monday off (tomorrow) so I hope it’s going to be a good one! Hope you’ve had a lovely week and have plenty more to look forward to!