As I write this I am wrapped up in bed in blankets and fuzzy clothes and shawls, looking out at a grey sky and a bare tree and rain spattered all over the fogged-up windows. Hard to believe that I began the week in an Australian summer (unfortunately I can’t describe an idyllic scene of blue skies and scorching suns as the weather was pretty miserable on the Monday we left)!
And yet, it has been a good week, and I’m looking forward to sharing its highlights with you all.
New things I’ve learnt this week
- I did a lot of research on the topics of menstruation and female athletes for a post that I will publish shortly, and found it really interesting. I don’t know about you, but the menstrual cycle was pretty much the entirety of our sex education at school and they made it as much of a drag as they possibly could, yet as a physically active female and a personal trainer I now find it fascinating. Coincidentally, Ben has been putting together a seminar on knee injuries and rehabilitation, and mentioned that the menstrual cycle contributes to the 2.5x increase in risk of ACL tears in females versus males (along with factors like greater quad/hamstring imbalance, greater angle at the hip and internal knee rotation, and so on; the bottom line – ladies, strengthen your hamstrings and wear appropriate footwear!).
- We also talked about Actovegin (which isn’t vegan due to its origins in calf’s blood) and its different effects when injected intramuscularly and intravenously. In the former scenario, it is used to speed up recovery from soft tissue injury such as muscle tears, in the latter it boosts oxygen content in the blood and remains a controversial topic in elite sports. I find it fascinating how a drug can have such different uses depending on where it enters the body (and also how we are now injecting ourselves with extracts of another species’ young in order to reach an arbitrary finish line milliseconds before someone else)
- Unrelated to health and fitness, I really enjoyed Shaheen’s informative little post on the Welsh version of Valentine’s Day, over on Allotment 2 Kitchen. I love traditional folk stories and the story of St Dwynwen is particularly complex and intense.
New things I have eaten this week
- Ben made me muesli! He combined oats and quinoa pops with some chopped dried apple, walnuts, and ground flax and goji berry mix, and some cinnamon, and packaged it into little 40g servings for me. I was so touched! It was delicious mixed with chia seeds and soy milk, and topped with a dollop of plain soy yoghurt and a ribbon of blackstrap molasses; I’d have taken a photo but I couldn’t really find a way to make it pretty.
- Mitsu of To Happy Vegans kindly alerted the Twitter world that a new vegan-friendly Mexican takeaway was offering delivery. I would need to borrow someone else’s hands as well as mine in order to count the number of times I have stated somebody should deliver burritos, so my ears (well, eyes) perked up. When I discovered that they were just a couple of stops away from me, near the home of the late Karma Free Pizza, and offered a jackfruit option, I got so excited we couldn’t not go that evening. Hombres was good – it’s nice to have more than just peppers and onions as an option – but not quite as exceptional as I was hoping for. Then again, my appetite was weird that day and I wasn’t really in the mood for anything by the time we went, and I am definitely a convert to jackfruit!
- I had a sudden quiche craving so I made one, only the second in my life and the first in about four years. For the crust I combined millet flour (trying to use it up bit by bit!), quinoa flakes, strong wholemeal flour, and the tiniest bit of coconut flour, with a surprisingly small amount of coconut oil. The filling was a simple filling of cup mushrooms and a leek, sautéed and sweated down with some basil and plenty of black pepper, and folded into puréed silken tofu to which I had added black salt to taste and a pinch of turmeric for colour. The crust was a little thinly spread, and I probably could have increased the filling by at least half, but considering I hadn’t measured anything and it tastes so good whilst being so healthy, I’m pretty impressed.
- I tried RawFusion chocolate protein powder, which I think is the US version of NitroFusion which I’ve already reviewed. Confirms that I like this stuff – mixes well, tastes good, decent texture. Unfortunately it contains fructose and guar gum, neither of which are present in other shakes I have taken lately, and which I don’t feel the need to include.
Other highlights this week
- Arriving home early on Tuesday morning to two housemates who seemed pleased to see us (well, one housemate and one guest staying with us for a month), getting unpacked and settled in before relaxing with plenty of hot drinks and catch-ups. It felt good to be back in our comfort zone again, no matter how unpleasant London is at the moment.
- Picking up my prize pair of Eco Vegan Shoes from the post office, which I won a while back in a competition by TeenVGN. I’m always wary of buying shoes online but my sandals are awesome and so comfortable, and I love that they came with a really nice drawstring shoe bag. Thanks again to everyone at TeenVGN and Eco Vegan Shoes!
- On Thursday I went on a big writing binge and spent all day (in between lots of cooking) researching and writing blog posts. It was great fun and effortless, and I feel good having a stock of posts for you all over the next couple of weeks.
- As I mentioned above, I also went on a big cooking mission on Thursday, buying up plenty of varied cheap root veggies and sprouts either reduced or on offer and roasting them (I am obsessed with roast beetroot at the moment!), making celeriac mash, making sweet potato and lentil soup, and then my quiche later on that evening. It feels good to cook again, and to cook healthy, cheap, and seasonal food.
- Getting back into the gym has been great. We’ve only done a couple of short sessions this week but they have been much needed! As a bonus, since Ben doesn’t like working on his upper body but I actually quite enjoy it, I took the liberty of planning our session and giving my brain a bit of a workout in the process. I’ll share that workout with you too!
Looks like I left my words behind when I went to Australia – what I struggled to put down on virtual paper whilst on holiday is clearly all pouring out now!
What was your highlight this week?