Sunday thoughts

Well it was bound to happen – a sudden drop in temperature, one evening out thinking that I probably should have brought my scarf, and in the blink of an eye I’m a sniffly stingy-eyed woolly-headed mess. Well, I’m not that bad really, I just have a bit of a cold, but I’m so used to feeling so physically good that anything less than great feels awful.

Anyway, that is genuinely my excuse for not writing more this week. I have simply not had the brain power to string words together. I don’t really see why having a cold makes it so hard to sit and type, but I promise that’s why I’ve been so quiet.

However, Sunday thoughts stop for nothing, so here we go.

New things I have learnt this week

Well, on a personal level I found out that I have actually torn my quad. Ha! That would explain why my knee has been feeling so strange, and perhaps even why I have lost weight, as a portion of my right quad has pretty much just withered away (slightly – it’s not as dramatic as it sounds). It’s really quite strange the way an injured muscle will just atrophy; Ben has explained that this is in part because the muscle fibres knit differently when they heal, disturbing the blood flow and therefore depriving the area of fuel and nutrients, but also because in protecting the injured area you prevent it from working, therefore the muscle starts to break down. I already knew most of this, but seeing it in action is quite something. Plus, I’ve been able to learn about how that impacts on my knee, by making the patella move slightly off-course, accounting for the “sticking” feeling I’ve been feeling as things have been encroaching on areas they don’t belong.

We’ve also been watching Medicine Men Go Wild, a surprisingly good Channel 4 mini-series in which a couple of doctors travel around the world exploring medicine and perceptions of pain and illness in different cultures. In one experiment, the two doctors with similar levels of cholesterol and blood glucose followed opposing diets; one the traditional diet of oily fish and whale blubber – high in fat and protein with virtually no fibre – and the other, a modern diet of highly processed carbohydrates and fats. The results after just a couple of weeks was astounding; the first saw his “bad” LDL cholesterol cut by 30%, while his brother saw his increase by the same amount. I would have expected those results, obviously, but nowhere near that magnitude.

New things I have eaten this week

Not an overly experimental week in the kitchen, making another batch of pumpkin muffins to use up the remaining half can of pumpkin and try out my new ginger Coconom coconut sugar, but my appetite has been troublesome over the past few days, giving rise at times to sudden and specific cravings, and at other times making food seem the most repulsive idea I could come up with.

However, when Virgin Media was down for two whole days, we had to seek refuge in coffee shops to be able to do any sort of work, which led us to Harris+Hoole. They are technically an “independent chain”, but we found out that they are 49% owned by Tesco, which is disappointing. However, they are probably the lesser of a number of evils when it comes to coffee shop chains, and they serve loose-leaf teas in nice teapots with timers, and have a couple of vegan options; two soups, a “superfood salad” (of course…), and a hummus and vegetable sandwich which did actually look quite nice. I opted for the salad as I had just devoured two muffins and wasn’t feeling much like more baked goods, and although it wasn’t anything special, it was fresh and tasty and just what I was in the mood for at the time. I do, however, resent having to pay an “eat in” fee when they served it in the packaging. Sort that out, please, guys.

Although Ben and I spent a night in Southampton, we didn’t actually eat or drink anywhere I hadn’t been before! However, we did spend a lot more time in The Art House than I ever had when I lived there, and as well as their homemade cake and milky teas (if you are ever in the area, do try the Southampton Fog – milky Earl Grey tea with vanilla syrup) I managed to taste Jude’s chocolate sorbet and Lizi’s granola, in ice cream sundae form and in breakfast bowl form. More on Southampton’s vegan options in a later post!

Other highlights this week

  • Coming back to Southampton, and seeing an old friend for the first time since I graduated over 3 years ago. I have been back to Southampton, but only ever for one day at a time to help out at fight shows, and never ventured into the town on those occasions.
  • Being able to spend more time with Ben now that he is working fully for himself.
  • Receiving the knee pads I ordered last week, and being able to grapple without pain or discomfort in my knee.
  • Having Ben examine said knee and find out that the problem stemmed from my torn quad. It’s nice to know what the problem is, at least.
  • Fixing a problem with my business email address all by myself!
  • Visiting The Rabbit Hole vegan hair salon for the second time, and having nice hair again for the first time in about four months.
  • When Ben and I got rained on for about 3 hours straight during my tour of the university campuses and where I used to live and other important landmarks, we got so wet and cold (read: grouchy and miserable) that we ended up buying a new pair of shoes and socks each from SportsDirect. They were only a tenner each, but socks and shoes have never felt so good as when we changed out of our soaked pairs and put the new, dry ones on. I, incidentally, also found a nice half-price coat that was just the right size and cut for me at £30, so I bought that too to replace one of my old ones which no longer has any buttons and is fraying and worn thin in several places. Impulse purchases are the best – especially when they are so sensible and appreciated.

I think that’s about all for this week. Hopefully next week will be a little more active on here – having been back to Southampton, I realise I need to do a little bit of reminiscing about my diet and training, as well as offer a bit of insight into vegan options and eateries in the city. It’s also my birthday on Tuesday, and Ben has a few tricks up his sleeves so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about!

I hope you are all healthy and happy, and please do have a slice of cake or two for me (or for yourself, if you don’t feel you need an excuse to eat cake!) on Tuesday. As always, please do share your week’s highlights with me in the comments below!