Health Diary Week 47: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The Human Yo-Yo

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

What’s New

It’s been a more positive week compared to Week 46 – admittedly there were a few lows, but all-in-all a better week overall. The insomnia experienced since I was unwell in March hasn’t helped, so I’m trying to resolve this issue. I stumbled across antihistamines[1] as a potential solution to break the cycle. This seemed ideal, as I already use antihistamines, so my plan was to swap to a drowsy inducing one and take it before bed. But further research revealed I need to wean myself off regular antihistamine use[2], because they could damage my health long-term and actually increase histamine release (annoyingly, I can’t find the source where I read about this issue). I may still try the antihistamines short-term though.  

Then someone shared an article about histamine intolerance[3], which took me down a rabbit hole of research, because it’s highly possible this is the root cause of my gluten, dairy and ‘sulphite’ intolerances. I’ve been known for my nose to get through a whole box of tissues in a day or for my stomach to bloat to the extent I look pregnant. Interestingly, according to Dr Peers[4] 80% of people with this condition are women and 80% have hypermobility[5] (which I have). So, I decided to investigate a specific elimination diet[6] of food/drinks containing histamine and those triggering its release (N.B. I’m confident to manage this diet myself because I have relevant nutrition and health qualifications, otherwise I’d consult my GP or a Dietician first). Completely changing how I eat again (the last time was 2013) is a daunting prospect, but I’m up for the challenge and intend to start from Week 53 to give myself plenty of time to undertake adequate research. And of course I’ll be sharing the progress with you all.

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices and identify any tweaks I could make to improve my nutrition…

Breakfast:

Not such a great week for breakfasts. I’ve fallen back into the habit of the easy-grab oat biscuits – I should make porridge topped with fruit instead – maybe I’ll be more inclined to as we head properly into Autumn. I ate pineapple twice though, so that’s good (unless you’re trying to avoid histamines). And, I had cereal with oat milk once – I’ve recently swapped from almonds to oats as it’s more environmentally friendly, but I prefer the taste of almond milk:

Week 47 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I had a week full of salad lunches – it’s a good thing I love salad. On six days I had My Typical Salad – sadly this will have to be adapted soon to exclude tomatoes and avocados – I’m gutted about that, but hopefully they can be re-introduced eventually. We also had a delicious Shawarma kebab:

Week 47 Lunches

Dinner:

I didn’t realise until my week’s analysis just how much pasta I’d eaten for dinner – I had some form of it five times – I reckon I could happily eat pasta every day, but this isn’t a good idea, as diversity to obtain a range of nutrients is preferable. One of my non-pasta meals was a high fat, but tasty pizza; the other, was my highlight of plant-protein mince filled tacos – yum:

Week 47 Dinners

Snacks:

I didn’t snack loads, except over the weekend, especially during the evenings. The unhealthiest snack (high in sugar, total and saturated fat) were the chocolate ginger tiffin – I’d actually had these in my food cupboard since February and only ate them because they had reached their end date – I shared them with my parents during our morning coffee and bird watching meet-up on the driveway. Also, I had crisps/potato chips a few times, so that would have increased saturated fat intake. I think my chocolate intake was okay – another favourite food to be excluded during my histamine elimination diet – I’ll be okay, right? Right?:

Week 47 Snacks

Alcohol

I drank two bottles of cider when I visited the pub garden for my friend’s birthday. It turns out they weren’t a great idea – I ended up with a headache that lasted the rest of the evening and into the next morning. I’ll be giving up alcohol during my elimination diet – I might be able to re-introduce vodka later on an occasional basis:

Week 47 Alcohol

Exercise

My physical activity was less than I’d thought, totalling five hours, an hour less than last week. I’m pleased I incorporated WiiFit (once, 45 minutes) and exercise biking (twice, 90 minutes), as well as walking (twice, nearly three hours). I hope to report a higher amount of exercise next week, with all the activities listed, perhaps even two sessions of WiiFit:

I’ve got such long legs!

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, so I put on a bit of weight, just 0.6 lb (0.3 kg), but on the up-side, I lost 0.6% body fat, which I’m happy about, as fat loss is a preferable outcome. My weight is yo-yoing somewhat, but as long as the overall trend, as slow as it may be, is in the right direction, I’m happy:

Graph: SI: self-isolation. LD: lockdown. PLD: partial lockdown

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Looking back on the things that made me feel more positive and smile was a particularly helpful activity this week and I’m glad I can share this with you all: 

Going Out-Out (well, sort of):
Tina kindly invited me to join her for some Birthday celebrations. So, I anxiously ventured to the pub for the first time since February. Granted it was on a weekday and during the afternoon, so, it was fairly quiet really, but great for me. It was lovely to socialise for a few hours with Tina, her Aunties and Ben. As the sun set, the Landlady pointed out the glowing orange-tipped trees effect – they almost looked Autumnal:

Jasper the Friendly Cat:
Jasper (not my cat) has taken to joining us for our morning driveway coffees. He seems very chilled. I’m kind of torn between my fear of him hunting our bird friends and loving having a cat around (my old girl passed away back in 2017). Thankfully, he hasn’t seemed interested in the birds so far:

Seeing my First Dragonfly of the Year:
I love dragonflies – I don’t know why exactly – maybe it’s just because I think they’re beautiful. So, I was happy to finally spot one flying above the driveway. Unfortunately, its visit was too fleeting to get a photo. But I’m hopeful I’ll be seeing more dragonflies soon and capture a picture:

Image: komkrich Srigoson, Pixabay (I wish I could say I’d taken this great photo)

Hello Friends:
I had lovely online chats with Chud and Bevy (separately). I was delighted to finally catch up with Mark – we met about twenty years ago at work and used to spend a lot of time belly-laughing, whilst being incredibly productive I should add. Naturally, we maintained the friendship after we both left the company. Also, I had a WhatsApp chat with Marjory, my former job-share – thankfully, we used to overlap once a week, otherwise we would never have met – we often lunched together in the park, appreciating nature and chatting about health and the environment:

Left: Marjory & I on WhatsApp this week. Right: Mark & I at my Summer house party (2010)

Nature Close-Up (Continued):
Instead of just marching along during my walks, I’ve tried to take time out to take a closer look at the surrounding nature. Sometimes you spot something you’ve never noticed before, like some strange orangey tiny flower-tubular thingies I spotted amongst a bush. Does anyone know what these are please?:

Left: Orangey tubular flowers from a distance (top) & close-up (bottom). Right: Some other plant from afar (top) and then close-up (bottom).

Mindfulness Meditation and Lovely People:
My highlight has to be the evening catch-up in Karen and Chris’s garden, as I felt completely relaxed. Our lovely hosts previously ran Action for Happiness[7] courses. And it was lovely to meet Julie and Chrissy for the first time – both incredibly inspiring women. Chrissy, a yoga instructor and runner of 52 marathons in 52 weeks, led a Mindfulness[8] meditation session – just what I needed:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up.

>>>Week 48
<<<Week 46
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References

1. National Health Service, 2020. Antihistamines [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/antihistamines/.
2. Olson, E., Mayo Clinic, 2020. Healthy Lifestyle – Adult Health. Is it OK to use over-the-counter antihistamines to treat insomnia? I’d like to avoid prescription sleep aids. [online]. Available from: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sleep-aids/faq-20058393.
3. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2019. Symptoms [online]. Available from: www.histaminintoleranz.ch/en/symptoms.html.
4. Dr Tina Peers, Ca. 2020. Symptoms of HIT [online]. Available from: www.drtinapeers.com/symptoms-of-hit.
5. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes? [online]. Available from: www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes.
6. British Dietetic Association Food Allergy Specialist Group, 2018. Sensitivity to Histamine and other Vasoactive Amines [online]. Available from: www.bda.uk.com/uploads/assets/5aa56020-71df-46f2-b47bc5e93317c25b/histamine.pdf.
7. Action for Happiness, 2020. Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind [online]. Available from: www.actionforhappiness.org/.
8. MIND, 2018. Mindfulness [online]. Available from: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/about-mindfulness/.

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13 thoughts on “Health Diary Week 47: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

    • I find pasta so comforting. A good sauce is definitely going to make it more tempting too. Maybe you should share your sauce recipe in a post, but then maybe I’d eat yet more pasta 😅 The wholegrain, lentils, chickpeas or pea versions are better than white pasta at least because they contain more nutrients 😊 But my portion sizes are larger than they should be. I’m going to aim for replacing some of the pasta with wholegrain rice ☺

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  1. The new diet plan will be interesting to see. I enjoy reading about all the research you do. The Action for Happiness has been reported to me from another person – some really good ideas which will support what you are trying to do. Saw some talks on YouTube. Have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marjory. I’m a bit apprehensive about the elimination diet, but hopefully it will help figure out and manage my triggers. Feel free to share links to the YouTube talks (here or via email). Have a good week too 😊

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