Sunday thoughts: 1st June 2014

Happy June!

Thankfully, after a week of abysmal weather in London which saw me dig a warmer coat out and even my gloves, I have been enjoying two days of being able to walk around without a coat on in France, where I am currently visiting my granddad.

He and I have had a wonderful day together, with him being in the best form I’ve seen him so far this year; a little walk around the block this morning and an hour-long walk this afternoon, him going through all of his memories of his 20s which included his experience in Germany during World War 2.

But really, the whole week has been good. I just wish the summer would set in properly so I can get on with eating salads and not feel like an idiot for wearing sunglasses when it’s not actually properly sunny.

New things I’ve learnt this week

  • For some reason, I trudged my way through the 2014 Consensus Statement from the first Economics of Physical Inactivity Consensus (EPIC) Conference. It’s a shame scientific writing is so dull as the information within was actually interesting; admittedly I don’t know much about what discussions are going on in scientific circles but I was amazed that we are now focussing on physical inactivity as a societal issue, rather than simply managing the symptoms of it. In short:
    • physical inactivity has emerged as a very real problem and even a pandemic
    • physical inactivity and the negative health consequences thereof are responsible for lower productivity levels in the workplace, either due to absenteeism or inability to remain productive whilst at work
    • therefore, this loss of productivity must be taken into account when evaluating the true cost to the economy of physical inactivity, rather than simply calculating the cost of treating disease
    • however, it is impossible to truly evaluate the economic burden as there is no consensus on the methodology, there are different perspectives from which to evaluate productivity, and it risks giving people in employment a higher value to their health
    • it is equally difficult to assess the economic value of interventions against inactivity, due to variations in types of intervention, specific population needs, and methodological considerations (namely that “success/failure” outcomes aren’t representative of real life effectiveness, but that graduated “very beneficial/moderately beneficial/not beneficial/moderately harmful etc” outcomes are harder to collect and analyse)
    • even assuming a proper evaluation of costs and solutions can be reached, actually implementing anything effective is virtually impossible as it would require the investment of numerous parties who may not have anything to gain directly from the benefits of increased physical activity
    • … considering the consensus estimates that 1.3 million deaths could be avoided every year if physical inactivity were reduced by as little at 25%, it’s quite alarming that we are far from finding a way to achieve this reduction!
  • This is pretty irrelevant to anything, but I found this resource so useful I had to share. Over the course of numerous translations, my mum (who revises them for me) noted that I seem not to understand the difference between practice and practise. As someone who really has very few issues with spelling or grammar, I was pretty embarrassed and hurriedly educated myself… But when it came to my latest translation, I had once again forgotten. Then I found this tip and I know I will never get it wrong again – simply replace with advice, which is a noun, or advise, which is a verb, and the question of whether you need a C or an S answers itself!

New things I have eaten this week

  • Every day as I walk into town, I walk past a rather fancy-looking kebab and mezze place named Ecklee. I’m always a bit wary of these types of places that serve simple food but try to glam their facade up. And yet, it’s always caught me eye… possibly because I just can’t resist any combination of bread, chickpeas, garlic, and oil. As Viv (now able to articulate her lower limbs following her 100km challenge) had to somehow transition from my living room to the station, I was determined to find somewhere in between the two where we could meet friends, so as to spare Viv any unnecessary extra foot strikes. We settled on Ecklee which turned out to be a fine choice! The menu is standard; the usual hot and cold mezze, main dishes served with rice and salad, and wraps. We agreed to share hummus and moutabal, and I got an extra couple of mezze to make up my meal: a mixed salad and a hot okra dish. The portions were huge and everything tasted fresh and flavourful (the only minor disappointment was the hummus which wasn’t the best I’ve had). For £40 between three of us, we were absolutely stuffed and not everyone managed to clear their plates (I, of course, asked to take home the remaining hummus along with the complimentary baklava as I just can’t see good food go to waste). Excellent value even by my standards!

Other highlights this week

  • As I mentioned last week, I really loved having Viv over, and going out for lunch with her and another friend on Monday was a lovely no-fuss way to spend a rainy bank holiday Monday. I was so sad to see her go!
  • I can’t describe how relieved I was when our toilet started functioning again. It’s so nice not to have to place your day around trips out to use public toilets.
  • All of my clients worked so hard this week which makes it so fun and rewarding – and our running group regulars have improved their technique and pace so much it’s unreal.
  • It felt so good to sit down and get a few blog posts out again. If you missed them, this week I had a rant about my pet training peeves, and I revisited a bout of recipe testing in honour of Zsu Dever’s new cookbook.
  • Ben and I had a few brilliant workouts that squeezed every drop of strength from our muscles; chest, legs, and back were all equally good.
  • After said tough back session, I found myself totally flat and uninspired by cooking. Luckily, it was a Friday night and the night before leaving for France, so it seemed totally justified to order a couple of Village Pizzas for the first time since we’ve been in our new home! Sitting cross-legged our armchairs with a warm box on my lap totally hit every spot. Mine was a pretty standard pick: aubergine, sundried tomato, artichoke, and black olives. What do you guys think? Should I branch out or stick with my winning formula?

So that’s another month behind us in 2014 – it’s been a bit of a wild ride, but I’m looking forward to June. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good month. What have you all got planned for the longest days of the year?