Sunday thoughts

This was a bit of a muddle of a week – half a day in Luxembourg, travelling back, a day off to chill and get myself sorted out for the week ahead, then three quite manic days at work, followed by a weekend visiting Ben’s family. I feel like I haven’t really been properly rested in a couple of weeks, but this evening I am home nice and early after training to cook, do laundry, and chill out.

Before I get started with my weekly review, I wanted to highlight a case that is getting some exposure on Facebook and Twitter, and which we hope to grow and make quite a big deal about. A member of the VeganFitness forum found a photo of himself riding his mountain bike – almost life-sized, on a McDonald’s advertisement used in one of their drive-throughs. He obviously did not consent to this photo being used, and does not want his healthy, active vegan lifestyle to be used to promote a company like McDonalds. Read the full thread here – and if you have any legal advice or any creative ideas as to how to turn this to the advantage of the vegan cause, please share it in the comments below or join the forum and post in the thread.

Now, time for me to make some sense of this week.

New things I have learnt this week

  • Not so much an expansion of my knowledge base, but I performed a cuboid manipulation known as the “Black Snake Whip” on Ben. I was quite nervous as it is quite an aggressive technique, but I performed it well and felt pretty confident in my intuition as to when to press harder, how fast to perform the manipulation, etc.
  • I learnt, in the course of a conversation with friends, that some antipsychotic drugs can cause inappropriate lactation. This has no direct impact on my life at present, but I always want to know more about various pharmaceuticals and their side effects.

New things I have eaten this week

  • My last meal in Luxembourg was grabbed in a friend’s lunch break in one of the country’s few food courts. And by food court, I mean a small cluster of about 5 eateries. I had actually never eaten from any of the places as it opened just after I left Luxembourg if I recall correctly, so I was actually quite intrigued to try out the “Kebab Lounge”, Orient X. Plus, you can never go wrong with falafel. However, they did manage to go wrong with the tahini, which had yoghurt in it – typical Luxembourg! Luckily, I still enjoyed my wrap of salad and falafel, despite the unsurprisingly over-inflated price tag and grumpiness of the staff when I asked if I could have hummus instead of tahini (there was a vague gesture made at the price list, which I ignored with a gratuitous roll of the eyes). Still, at least there was a vegan option!
  • Although I love biscuits, I only rarely really feel like sitting down and eating them (or rather, I rarely trust myself to open a packet and know when to stop). So I was a little apprehensive about cracking into the chocolate digestive biscuits lovely Rachel sent me in the UK Vegan Food Swap – hoping I wouldn’t let them sit in my treat box for weeks. Luckily, they were just what I needed on Tuesday night… and Wednesday night… They are excellent. In my opinion, better than original chocolate digestive biscuits. Slightly more dense and less crumbly, they feel more wholesome and remind me of my childhood love, Dinosaurus biscuits. I feel like my life is a little more complete having tried these biscuits now.
  • I also packed one of the little TopasTofu patés in my lunch on Thursday. I was due to be out at work events all day and eating on the go, so instead of “wasting” Ben’s lovely chilli on a cold Tupperware meal somewhere on public transport in the arse-end of West London, I thought I could throw together some crudités and quinoa and use the paprika paté as my pièce de resistance. Due to a slight transport mishap, I ended up eating perched in a corner of a windy cold bus stop, using red pepper sticks to scoop out the paté – and I was totally happy, as it was delicious! It would be incredible on good bread which, after all, is what it is intended for. Really hearty and flavourful, and very satisfying. Perfect for jazzing up an otherwise unexciting lunch!
  • Ben picked up a special treat for Saturday night as we were spending the evening with his family – a tub of Booja-Booja Pompompous Maple Pecan “ice cream”. I have had the vanilla and chocolate flavours before and been really impressed with their creamy decadence. While this flavour was delicious, it was nowhere near as rich, and much more subtle in flavour than I expected. Which is fine by me, and the texture was as silky smooth as always. Plus, it’s actually surprisingly healthy, being made of a combination of only nuts, water and agave nectar, and providing only 150kcal per 100ml – which means even if I ate a whole tub, it would only be 750kcal; way more than I would need from a dessert, but really not all that disastrous compared to other desserts one could eat all by oneself and if you did it early enough in the day, the fat from the nuts and the 15g of protein would probably fill you up for long enough that you would feel less compelled to snack later on. Perfect clean bulking food if you ask me! (interestingly, the chocolate flavour is the lowest in calories, and has the lowest fat and the highest protein content of all the flavours… I love this company).
  • I have tried almost the full range of Sativa Shakes now and I am working on a full review of their products to be shared with you all this week.
  • We finally tried the JusRol Pain au Chocolat we had had sitting around for a few weeks. I was impressed, but Ben didn’t like them as much as the croissants. I think they actually reminded me of “real” bakery non-vegan pains au chocolat more than the croissants did. But either way, you can never go too wrong with pastry and chocolate, especially when it’s warm from the oven!

Other highlights this week

  • I bought my first gi for Brazilian jiu jitsu! It has been a while since I bought new training gear, and a very long time since I treated myself to martial arts-specific kit, so it’s really nice to have done so. Plus it is embroidered with our team logo on the back, so it does look great too. More importantly, I feel so much more confident wearing something that actually fits me (and that I know is clean)!
  • I had to work late on Thursday so I decided to scrap training and meet up with friends instead. I could have made it to the gym, but I’d have just lifted some weights in a fairly generic routine, and was likely to be tired and/or stressed and possibly hungry as I had no way of guaranteeing adequate timing of my food intake, so I decided to nurture my soul instead by investing time in my amazing friends. They came out to meet me at my now regular haunt, the Karma Free Pizza Company. As I love this restaurant so much, I was a little worried they wouldn’t like it quite as much as I do, but it was an absolute hit! Everyone loved their food, and a couple of us even got dessert – my first time out of all my visits – which was two pieces of incredible syrupy vegan baklawa served with vanilla ice cream. But most importantly, conversation flowed all night and the food was very reasonably priced as always, and I went home feeling very contented with life again.
  • Tuesday was a great day – started the day with toast and marmalade prepared by Ben, met my friend Eilidh at the Gallery Café for an amazing warm salad, lots of tea, a rich fudgy brownie, and an afternoon of extended holiday feeling.
  • Ben had the fantastic idea of dining at Azou after training on Friday night. It had been a while since we had been and we were both pretty hungry – which is definitely the right time to visit! The food was fantastic, as always, and we were given a large round table at the back, with a big comfortable sofa, and friendly and warm service (the manager even noted that I always get the same dish – I was impressed by his memory!). For a good hour an a half I completely forgot about the world and everything in it, while Ben and I just talked and ate our hearts away, and life felt truly easy.

I think that’s a pretty good note to end this on – so please, enjoy your Sunday evenings and have a fantastic week!