Health Diary Week 19: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Birthday Indulgences!

My 40th birthday banner (a few years ago!)

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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

…This week’s post will be a little different, since it was my birthday and I decided not to worry about what I was eating/drinking or exercise (much like Christmas). I’ll still post my results, but first I’ll share my birthday indulgencies with you – perhaps don’t read this post if you’re dieting and struggling with food cravings!

My Birthday hat courtesy of young Lawrie (my friends’ son)

Food and Nutrition (not so much Nutrition)

Birthday Lunch:

On my birthday, Mum took me out for brunch to the fabulous plant-based restaurant: Offbeet New Forest, located on Sunnyfields Farm. We had coffee (great coffee) and the most amazing Middle Eastern waffles with vegan ‘smoked salmon’, ‘sour cream’ and ‘boiled egg’ – magic! We perused the farm shop and returned to Offbeet for a matcha latte and gooey chocolate brownie – the brownie was so beautifully rich – I ate ½ and took the rest home (I had it for breakfast the next morning!):

Offbeet New Forest Birthday brunch. Top: 1st course: Middle Eastern waffles. Latte with soya milk. Bottom: 2nd course: Gooey chocolate brownie with matcha soya latte.

Birthday Dinner:

For dinner, I was treated to one of my favourite homemade meals – tomatoes, spinach and olives with tagliatelle pasta in a creamy silken tofu and pesto sauce, topped with asparagus and toasted pine nuts with griddled aubergine, courgette and pepper – love it!:

My Birthday dinner tagliatelle made by my Mum – yum!

Birthday Party

At the weekend, I had a small party planned that evolved into an open house scenario, where most of those who couldn’t make it to the evening do, visited me during the day. I had guests from midday through to the early hours of the morning and I loved it! It was especially lovely to see friends from further afield who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. Whenever I throw a party, I include an optional theme: this year was odd socks/shoes, which was taken up by a few of us.

Left: My birthday outfit (dark tired eye circles still there!). Right: The circle of odd socks!

Birthday Buffet:

I prepared a buffet for the party, but totally forgot to take a photo of it, because of all the distractions with the fun of socialising. Instead, I’ve cobbled together some photos at food preparation and leftovers stage, although sadly not as well presented as on the night.

I made sausage rolls using Linda McCartney red onion & rosemary sausages and Jus-rol gluten free and vegan pastry. I also made my Nana’s curry puffs using a pea, potato, spinach and tomato filling, accompanied by Nita’s Mum’s green chilli chutney (soooo delicious and works perfectly with the curry puffs) – a definite hit!:

Birthday buffet: Top: Sausage rolls. Bottom: Curry puffs with green chutney.

Do you remember cheese and pineapple or pickled onions on cocktail sticks? – A classic party food when I was a kid. Well, I decided to expand on this with Applewood vegan cheese, fresh pineapple, pickled onions, pickled cornichons (little gherkins), freshly steamed beetroot, baby plum tomatoes and marinated olives (I forgot to put the olives out). I came up with the idea for guests to ‘pick and mix’ their combos by placing the cocktail sticks in the middle of the options, also saving me preparation time – win-win! I was surprised by how much the non-vegans enjoyed the cheese – I had to chop up another block – it was quickly demolished again!

Cocktail stick options (minus the baby plum tomatoes & olives). Clockwise: Applewood cheese (was cubed). Pickled onions & cornichons. Freshly steamed beetroot. Fresh pineapple.

There were various crisps/chips, Bombay mix, peanuts and crackers. The tortilla chips (and sausage rolls) went especially well with the cashew cream cheeses I’d made – lemon and black pepper, and red chilli and smoked paprika. I also prepared carrot, celery and cucumber veg sticks with shop-bought hummus and tomato salsa – I would have liked to make the dips, but time was limited.

Clockwise: Some chip/crisp options. Carrot, celery & cucumber veg sticks (a few left-over from the party). Cashew cream cheeses: lemon & black pepper (left) and red chilli & smoked paprika (right).

I also made Creative Nature banana bread mini muffins using a mix where you just add mashed ripe bananas. I had intended to put out the Daiya Chocolate Cheezecake I’d bought for Christmas and never used, but completely forgot – if any of my guests are reading this – I’m so sorry!:

Banana bread mini muffins – individual cases used for better portioning instead of a bread tin.

Alcohol

I drank alcohol at the weekend. On Friday I had 3 doubles of Hotel Chocolat salted caramel vodka liqueur. Saturday night, over approximately 7-8 hours, I drank a bottle of bubbly and 2 double rums with ginger beer – surprisingly I felt okay on Sunday.

My ‘Try Dry’ (free app) February results.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, so I should probably update on my results… Surprisingly, I only gained 1.2 lb (0.5 kg) and my fat percentage increased by 0.2%. I’ve extended my self-experiment of weighing myself every day from 4 to 12 weeks – interestingly, I weighed my lowest since starting this journey, 164.6 lb (74.4 kg) on Thursday and Friday, but by Sunday (after the party) I increased to 168.2 lb (76.3 kg). I was relieved my weight dropped a bit by Monday’s weigh-in!

Week 19 results – not as bad as expected.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I had a happy week and I’m so grateful to have such lovely family and friends – you’re ace! I’m ready to get back on track now (I think), so I’m expecting to report some positive results next week…

Cute idea from Offbeet New Forest – motivational quote on the back of our table number.

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 20>>>
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Health Diary Week 10: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Christmas Week Indulgences

Image: Mohamed Hassan from 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 Christmas time – so I didn’t concern myself with how much and what I ate this week. Therefore, this post will be a little different – I guess you could call it my Christmas Edition:

Mum & I commence the Christmas food prep!

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…

Christmas Midnight Buffet Feast:

My Mum and I began food prepping for the ‘post-Christmas Eve pub night midnight buffet feast’ a couple of days before Christmas (in my tipsy state I forgot to take a photo of this, but it was impressive!).

For the buffet we made my Nana’s curry puffs (chickpeas, spinach, potato and tomatoes), sausage rolls (with ready-made pastry), cashew ‘cheeses’ (chilli and paprika, lemon and black pepper) and coleslaw – all high fat![1].

Being constantly curious, I decided to compare the nutritional information of the pastry I used (Jus-rol gluten free [and vegan]) and its all-butter version. The gluten free had 62 calories and 7.4 grams saturated fat less and 2.9 grams more fibre[2] than its butter counterpart per 100 grams. Also, my cashew soft cheese contained only trace trans-fat and no cholesterol compared to spreadable cheese’s 0.9 grams trans-fat and 72 mg cholesterol[3]. This made me feel a bit better about my ‘fat binge’:

Our buffet feast prep. Top left: Nana’s curry puff filling (chickpeas, potatoes, spinach & tomato). Right: finished curry puffs. Bottom left: sausage rolls using Linda McCartney sausages. Bottom middle: cashew cheeses: chilli & paprika, lemon & black pepper. Bottom right: coleslaw.

Breakfast:

Christmas morning, we started with fruit: papaya, mango, strawberries and lime – tasty and healthy. Boxing Day’s breakfast was smashed avocado with red onion, tomato and olives on seeded wholegrain toast. Most excitingly, I was treated again by @baldveganchef with a meal very much like smashed avocado, smoked salmon and runny egg on a bagel, but actually completely plant-based – genius and delicious!:

Breakfasts: Top: Christmas day fruit salad. Bottom left: Smashed avocado with tomato, red onion & olives. Bottom right: @baldveganchef’s vegan smashed avocado, ‘smoked salmon’ and ‘runny egg yolk’ on a bagel.

Christmas Dinner (Gluten-Free and Vegan):

Christmas dinner was awesome! We’d made Richard Church’s butternut squash wellington also containing spinach, walnuts, apricots & bechamel sauce. We used Waitrose vegan, gluten free cocktail sausages (seasonal edition) that we rolled in Quorn ‘ham’ slices. We made stuffing with a ready mix and added Linda McCartney sausages and various herbs. There were loads of different roasted veg (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato and turnip), Winter mash (swede, carrot and turnip), spiced red cabbage and steamed Brussel sprouts with chestnuts. We easily hit our 5-a-day![4]. The rest of the week I ate various versions of Christmas dinner – I’ve had enough roasts now until next Winter!:

The Christmas dinner feast! Top left: Richard Church’s butternut squash wellington & ‘pigs-in-blankets’ (Waitrose cocktail sausages & Quorn ham slices). Right: Roasted veg – potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato & turnip. Bottom left: stuffing & Winter mash (swede, carrot & turnip). Bottom middle: steamed Brussel sprouts & chestnuts.  

Lunch, Pastry and Cheese:

Lunches were pretty much buffet-type foods, including variations of cheese and crackers, Applewood cheese & coleslaw sandwiches, curry puffs, sausage rolls, crisps, hummus, antipasti, tomatoes, pickled onions and chutneys. By the end of the week I felt like I had eaten my weight in pastry and cheese! I managed a mince pie early on Christmas day, but couldn’t face the Christmas pudding with Elmlea plant double cream until much later in the week. We still have a chocolate cheesecake in the freezer!:

Right: Buffet-type lunches (not enough salad!). Top right: Mince pie. Bottom right: Christmas pudding with Elmlea plant double cream.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

So, I was pleasantly surprised by how little weight (only 0.8 lb) and fat (0.4%) I gained over the Christmas week. However, the challenge now is to avoid gaining anymore and start losing again. This could be difficult given the amount of self-control I’m going to need to resist eating too much of my Christmas chocolate haul!:

The Christmas chocolate & booze haul – uh oh!

Feeling Motivated:

But, I’m definitely feeling motivated to eat more healthily and exercise after this week’s indulgences – so bring on a healthy 2020!…

Image: 3D Animation Production Company, Pixabay

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 11>>>
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References

1. British Heart Foundation, Ca. 2019. Fats explained [online]. Available from:  www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/healthy-living/healthy-eating/fats-explained.
2. Watson, K., 2019. Carbs: The good, the bad and the sometimes ‘farty’! [online]. Available from: https://whatsonwatsonsplate.wordpress.com/carbs-the-good-the-bad-and-the-sometimes-farty/.
3. Finglas, P. M., Roe, M. A., Pinchen, H. M., Berry, R., Church, S. M., Dodhia, S. K., Farron-Wilson, m. and Swan, G., 2015. McCance and Widowson’s the composition of foods, 7th summary edition. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.
4. National Health Service (NHS), 2018. Eat Well: Why 5 A Day? [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/why-5-a-day/.

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