Living for the weekend

I think I have a different concept of living for the weekend. Whereas most people seem to abandon the gym and their diets once released from the shackles of the “nine-to-five”, I seem to get healthier for those two days that I can do whatever I want.

There is no mystery behind this, though. I eat when I am bored, and when I sit at a desk I am bored. I also eat out of habit, and there is nothing more habit-forming than an office job. Plus, I eat socially and suffer massively from food envy, so even if I am not hungry, when people are having lunch all of a sudden I can’t think about anything other than getting my food out of the fridge. Lastly – and this is one that the health and fitness magazines never seem to bring up so I will assume it’s a weird one – I eat out of fear that I won’t have enough energy in the tank for training after work. I doubt it makes much of an actual difference to my performance, but if when I get tired and sore I can think, “There is no reason you cannot finish this,” rather than, “Ah well to be fair I probably haven’t eaten enough today” then the session generally ends on a better note.

Anyway, I have noticed this trend that over the weekends not only do I generally lose a little bit of weight, but I enjoy my food more and have fun with my meals and snacks. So I thought it might be worthwhile posting up a little sample of my weekend eats and treats, in case anybody else is lacking inspiration or motivation with their food but not looking to do anything too extravagant!

So this is what a fairly busy Saturday looked like:

8.15am – Alarm goes off – make lots of strange otherworldly noises, roll over considering skipping the gym, eventually scrape myself out of bed to have a Berocca multivitamin and make a cup of green tea. Sip green tea whilst getting dressed, until about halfway through the cup I start to feel horrible nauseous and like my teeth are expanding inside my mouth. Remember this is what happens when I drink too much green tea on an empty stomach (weird, I know). Put the green tea down.

9.00am – Reluctantly mix up a protein shake despite not wanting to ingest anything: I combine 1 scoop Sativa Shakes High Pro Choc Caramel and 1 scoop MyProtein Soy Protein Isolate Vanilla, and use half the mixture. Curse myself because I meant to use a different Sativa Shakes flavour. Drink anyway – the two flavoured powders make for a very sweet shake for someone who didn’t want to drink anything! I try one of the Benecol Dairy Free Drinks we bought a while ago. Measure out 15g of brazil nuts – being more calorific than almonds, I can get more fat and calories into me for less chewing. Eat a very ripe banana on the way to the bus stop. Start to get into this eating thing and wish I had brought more food. Consider eating the chocolate or the flapjack in my backpack… Remind myself I have been up for less than one hour.

10.00am – Spinning begins. I have my bottle of water in which I have dissolved a tablet of Science in Sport Go Hydro, which is just as lucky as about 15 minutes in I have sweat dripping off my nose.

12.00 – Strength & Conditioning is over and training is done for the weekend. Walking to the showers feels like an effort. I have my post-training shake: a scoop of Sativa Shakes High Pro Strawberry & Banana – I normally use Nature’s Whey Ignite Ultra-V but I have run out and am waiting for my order to be delivered. Ben has a client to treat, and I am in a bad mood, so I take my time and spend about 15 minutes standing still under the hot shower. I am the only girl in the changing room so nobody is judging me.

12.30 – Waiting for Ben in the gym reception. Consider eating the chocolate or flapjack or protein bar which I am carrying around in my backpack. Realise this would be boredom eating and that I have no need. Go back to staring into space and trying to relax the mind.

2.00pm (ish) – Ben and I get off the tube at Earl’s Court and start to wonder what to have for lunch. Almost go into Wagamama – Ben is not normally a fan but he suggested it so I thought it would be best to make the most of the opportunity, and I was in the mood for something fresh and tasty, but it just didn’t quite fit. We wander on. Next we go into a random Lebanese café – we are just deciding what to order when I realise that there is nothing I really want there either. We wander on.

2.30pm (ish) – We come onto High Street Kensington right in front of Down To Earth. I used to walk past this place all the time, when it was a pokey little hippie café, and wasn’t sure it was still the same place. We take a closer look and without hesitation go inside and grab a table. It has turned into a big open café with an array of raw dishes, salads and cakes in the display counter at the entrance, and a big chalkboard menu of their juices and smoothies, selling health food from the shelves which line all the walls. The slightly-tacky-very-Kensington furniture and layout, and the staff’s black “uniforms” worries me – is this going to be pretentious yet bland health food?

2.45pm (ish) – Finally ready to order some food. Ben without hesitation orders the Thai Ginger & Coconut Soup. I hesitate – on the one hand I want something healthy, on the other I don’t want to pay for a simple salad… Do I go for the raw stuff? It was pretty and colourful and healthy, but it looks so small and costs more than anything else on the menu… I remind myself to go with my gut instinct as it normally has some idea what it’s talking about when it comes to food. I order the raw lasagne and brace myself for a fibrous watery eye-wateringly expensive experience. I order a Protein Power smoothie to reassure myself that I will ingest something filling.

Sometime around 3.00pm – The soup arrives. I wipe a smear off the side of Ben’s bowl and lick my finger – holy crap this is good soup. I know I always underestimate soup, but while it is easy to make decent soup, it is hard to make amazing soup. The bread looks perfect – hearty yet light and fluffy, perfectly toasted. Butter on the side is annoying – vegan-friendly spread might have been a nice touch in a vegetarian/vegan/organic/healthy/raw establishment… But I didn’t even think of that at the time, the soup was so good. It’s a shame you can never make soup look that extravagant, because this soup tasted like what I would imagine diamonds and opals would taste like if they weren’t actually just rocks.

Down to Earth soup

I know you don’t believe me from seeing this photo, but this was incredible.

About 7 or 8 minutes later – How has the one hot item we ordered come out way before anything else?

Shortly after that – The most beautiful plate of food is set in front of me. A vibrant red mound of I-don’t-even-know-what-was-in-it beetroot salad, decorated with flame-coloured flowers, crimson slices of dried strawberry, and one little freshly green shaving of dried kiwi. That was only the sideshow. Next to it, a delicately cute little cube of layered vegetable slices and cashew cream, topped with some sort of nut meal posing surprisingly well as parmesan, and tiny little sundried tomatoes promising a big burst of flavour. For the first time in a long time, I don’t want to eat any of it, it looked so good.

This is one of the first times I am really upset I can't take better food photos, because I don't feel I am doing this justice

This is one of the first times I am really upset I can’t take better food photos, because I don’t feel I am doing this justice

I’m a little nervous of writing about this as I know I will get a little overexcited and emotional. I think this is the first time I have had “raw food” (I am obviously not counting things like salads and carrot sticks and fruit, in the same way that I don’t really think fruit salad counts as a vegan dessert). It is also the first time I think I have ever had to pause as soon as the food entered my mouth, in order to make sense of how much goodness my palate had just been hit with. Oh my god. Crunchy, gooey, salty, smooth, chewy, fresh, hearty, healthy, rich… literally everything good about food was in there. Except maybe warm. That is the problem, I do like warm food. But I cannot fault this. Obviously I have never eaten another raw food dish to compare it to, but this is the best thing I have eaten in a very long time. Yes it was £8.50, and yes I felt like a sellout ordering a raw dish, but it was everything I wanted and even better than I had hoped for. Plus, I was so full by the end of it, but without that greasy food coma sensation. As I said, I had better stop myself there, but believe me I have been thinking about it for over 24 hours now.

My Protein Power smoothie was distinctly average. It was slightly gritty from the brown rice protein powder they used, and the rest of the ingredients didn’t fully mask the taste. I was excited about trying an avocado-based smoothie but it didn’t seem to soften the texture all that much. Some you win, some you lose.

3.30pm (ish) – Despite wandering around looking at nice sports kit in the various shops along the pleasantness that is High Street Kensington, I couldn’t get the thought of chocolate out of my mind. Obviously (!) I always have some chocolate in my bag, so I had 20g dark chocolate (85%). We wander around Whole Foods, which is less appealing to me every time I go there for some reason. This is good though, as I spend less money there/feel less resentful about not being able to afford to buy everything there.

4.30-7.15pm – A lot of travelling. Went back to my old place to pick up a few bits and pieces I had left behind, then finally back to Ben’s feeling utterly exhausted.

7.30pm – Finished the rest of the morning’s protein shake combination, have another Benecol drink as I needed some sugar. Cut a carrot into sticks, planning to sit down and have a rest, end up eating it whilst I get on with preparing dinner. Make some oolong tea and drink two cups of it while making dinner.

9.00pm – Ben is home and dinner is ready! I made my own version of Ben’s version of shepherd’s/cottage pie (follow?) – I know shepherd’s pie is lamb and cottage pie is beef, so what is the vegan version? Any suggestions? For this one I used Redwood VegiDeli Gourmet Meat Free Mince but because it is very expensive, high calorie, and quite rich, I only used half the pack and supplemented it with some very finely chopped white cup mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, and a bit of Sainsbury’s own Love Soya Meat Free Mince. I couldn’t bring myself to use gravy, so I threw together some tomato purée, tahini, garlic powder, Sweet Freedom syrup, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, paprika, dried mixed herbs, salt, and pepper – it actually made quite a nice sauce before I added the mince, which surprised me because I had no idea what I was doing. I added frozen peas, and topped it with mashed sweet potato. Then I stirred together some milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds with nutritional yeast and cracked black pepper, and sprinkled it over the pies. The individual pies went into the oven for about 30mins until we were ready to eat them. They were tasty, but quite obviously healthified compared with Ben’s gravy-laden version!

10:30pm – It is Saturday night, after all, so I thought it might be a good time to have some ice cream. Vanilla Swedish Glace, a small scattering of fresh raspberries, 15g of melted low-quality plain chocolate, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. All served in a pink sundae glass, because it’s the little things in life that count! I scraped the sides for about three whole minutes before having to accept that I had finished my dessert.

11:00pm – Cup of peppermint tea.

11:30pm – Starting to lose the ability to think or speak so watch The Apprentice on iPlayer.

12:30am – Should have gone to sleep 45 minutes ago. Roll over. Fall asleep pretty much instantly.

It was an exhausting day after a tiring week, but it was a good day all in all. I won’t be posting about Sunday, purely because it involved a lot more sleeping, a lot more light pottering around the house, and a lot less eating – in fact, I really just had snacks and bits and pieces (fruit, nuts, raw veggies, protein shakes… and a biscuit) until Ben hit me with his baking. But hopefully it gives you a bit more of an idea of how you can enjoy your food even whilst being healthy – or in my case, especially whilst being healthy!

Does anybody else eat differently on the weekend? Or if you train, how do you eat on non-training days? Leave me a comment because I’d love to know and I’m sure others would too!