Sunday thoughts

Well it’s Sunday evening, so time to think about the week that’s just gone by. It’s gone really fast actually, as has the whole of this month. This is the first time I’ve said that in several months, and I’m feeling really chilled out at the moment. My appetite has been very strange, but I’ve been sleeping well and generally feeling quite good.

New things I have learnt this week

  • Mum always told me that the idea that chocolate gives you spots is a myth (that might explain a lot…), so I was quite surprised to see this BBC article bringing up the matter once again. However, what I did find interesting, was that acne sufferers were thought to have an “impaired tolerance of glucose” (which causes more insulin to be released into the bloodstream, increasing levels of IGF-1, which in turn stimulates hormone production such as testosterone, which promotes oily sebum production thereby exacerbating acne). Even more astounding, was the fact that the first big study into the matter was commissioned by the Chocolate Manufacturers’ Association of the USA, followed by a plague of glaring methodological problems with the study – and even more worryingly, the only further study in the next 40 years to attempt to research the question didn’t even have a control group! I learnt about the importance of a control in my first week of science classes at secondary school! Unfortunately, it seems that the latest study has found a link between the amount of cocoa ingested, and the incidence of acne flare-ups (in people susceptible to acne, of course). Reassuringly, however, it has been noted that perhaps dairy, refined sugar, and other additives in commercial chocolate, are at least in part to blame (as not many people consume 100% cocoa when they eat chocolate) – so although dark, vegan or raw chocolate certainly packs its fair share of calories and fat, we can feel a little less guilty when we indulge. At least that’s what I’ll be telling myself.

New things I have eaten this week

  • I have been in a snacking mood lately (well, when am I not, really?) and in search of bold flavours, so I packed my Primal Strips Vegan Jerky in Thai Peanut flavour which Rachel sent me in March’s Food Swap and enjoyed it after lunch on Monday. It was great! Sweet and meatily rich, with an oddly satisfying stringy, chewy texture. I’m not sure how many other people will like this as much as I did, but I loved it!
  • Ben gave me an Apple Pie Lärabar to try. From reading the ingredients – just nuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon, I knew it would taste pretty much exactly like a Nakd bar, and it did! Not that this is a bad thing. Main difference is it was a bit more moist than a lot of Nakd bars, and the nuts seemed to be chopped a little more coarsely. Tasty, but nothing special.

Other highlights this week

  • My lovely colleague Jade returned to the office after picking up her lunch on Thursday, and presented me with a paper bag – “Claire, this is for you!”. It is not my birthday, nor have I achieved anything or done Jade any particular favours, so I was confused – yet delighted – especially when it turned out to be the cutest little vegetable tart! “It said it was vegan, so I bought it for you” – how many people do such randomly thoughtful things these days? The tart was delicious, bought from an independent stall on Lower Marsh, and I was so touched by the gesture. Definitely made my working week. Thanks Jade!

Vegetable tart

  • Obviously the bank holiday Friday and long weekend, but that’s not really specific to me… However, I actually got my act together and organised to meet work friends on Saturday at the Gallery Café in Bethnal Green, one of my favourite haunts. Since I had done all of my boring catch-up-on-life chores on Friday, I got to sit with them for almost five hours, just chatting away and picking at the most incredible wedge of coffee and walnut cake, without watching the clock.
  • Launching my own hashtag campaign on Twitter with #WheyFreeWednesday was totally unplanned and very exciting. I’m trying to encourage all sports people, vegan or not, to drop their traditional whey protein shake for plant-based protein shakes, and discover the benefits of not loading their bodies with dairy which our bodies are not designed to digest (of course, if people want to take this to mean Dairy Free Wednesday that would be great too). Working with the VeganFitness Twitter account, I offered samples of Sativa Shakes to anyone who used the hashtag, and got a couple of takers, so I was really excited to be able to send the products out and hopefully make someone’s day! This will be an ongoing thing, so definitely get following VeganFitness and using the hashtag, I want to make it as popular as the Meat Free Monday movement!
  • I’ve had a fantastic week of training – a couple of sessions over two hours long, possibly the best conditioning session I’ve ever done, feeling really strong and quite lean, just great!

Next time I write my Sunday thoughts I will be in Australia! I will do my best to devise good ways to stay healthy and happy on a long-haul flight, as well as to try as many delicious and/or nutritious vegan foods out there as I can to report back about!

I hope you have all had a great week to end the month, and I hope you have plenty to look forward to next week and next month!