Health Diary Week 44 : Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Spotting Joyful Moments

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Hello again; how quickly time passes! I’m back for another instalment of what’s on my plate: health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

What’s New

I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to Pooja from Lifesfinewhine for her blogging advice. I’ve been taking note and making changes to my writing style and layout. I’ve still got loads to learn, but I’m getting there (I think). I hope you all approve.

The not so great news is that I didn’t get the job I interviewed for. But I’m okay about it. I asked for feedback and was pleased (relieved) it was positive “We thought you interviewed really well… you provided some really strong answers to our questions. It was a hard decision…”. Overall, I see it as a good practise run – after all, this was my first proper job interview in years – previously I’d been working as a university Disability Adviser for about 15 years.

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s check out 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:

I skipped breakfast four times this week – I just didn’t fancy eating first thing in the morning on those occasions. Strawberries were my healthiest option; I resorted to those easy-grab biscuits twice and once a slice of peanut butter and jam on toast. I really do need to up my fruit intake again:

Week 44 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I had a batch of steamed potatoes that needed using, so I oven cooked them in a spice coating of onion, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin and chilli oil, with some chickpea flour to add crispiness – I have to say, they were rather tasty, but then, I do love potatoes. The next couple of days were convenience meals – a miso chilli noodle pot and a pitta filled with cheese, coleslaw and salad. We had My typical salad the remainder of the week, as my folks were back. I’m happy enough with these food choices:

Week 44 Lunches

Dinner:

I do love pasta, as evidenced by my four pasta-based dinners this week: I split pumpkin raviolini over two days with a jar of bolognese sauce. Another day I opted for my lazy pasta – fusilli, sundried tomato, peppers, sweetcorn and onion, with a drizzle of chilli and extra virgin olive oil. And then there was a simple, but delicious brown-rice spaghetti with tomato, mushrooms, olives and pepper with homemade garlic bread. Other meals: leftover Mexican chilli on cheesy nachos with tomato and mushrooms – yum. A slightly disappointing burger and low-fat oven chips – we suspect the burger recipe has changed. Mum made a delicious cheesy veg bake to use up carrots, broccoli and courgettes, which we had with sausages, roasted potatoes and more carrots. I admit, I went back for seconds; actually, also with the spaghetti meal – I shouldn’t be doing that:

Week 44 Dinners

Snacks:

I’m not entirely sure how much I snacked during the first part of the week; I suspect not much. And I barely ate between meals the latter end. I’m surprised with myself and pleased. I hope I can continue to keep snacking to a minimum without feeling hungry – we’ll see. Sweet snacks were chocolate (a bar and a bit), whilst savoury included a filled pitta bread of cheese, coleslaw and salad (big snack!), crisps and Balti mix:

Week 44 Snacks

Alcohol

I had an alcohol-free week. I really didn’t fancy any after my excesses last week.

Exercise

Hmmm, what can I say? I’ve not had a particularly active week. The only exercise I achieved was through walking, nearing three hours total. I definitely intend to be more energetic next week:

Week 44 Exercise

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I wasn’t really sure what to expect this week results-wise. As it was, I had another week of no weight change (166.2 lb / 75.4 kg) and minimal body fat loss (from 40.2% to 40.1 %). I think the reduced snacking probably balanced out the lack of physical activity, resulting in just maintaining:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

It was tough narrowing down which positive experiences to include this week. So, here’s my favourites…

Mummy Bird’s Demands:
Mummy Bird (our Blackbird friend) makes me smile every time I see her. When it started to rain, we rushed inside to the living room with our morning coffee. We heard her loud chirping through the open window. So, I investigated and found her below the window looking up at me – she then jumped off the wall and ran towards the front door in anticipation (top row). Dad obediently went out and fed her (we’re well trained). But maybe she’s getting a bit chubby now? (Bottom row: Week 35 (left) versus now (right)):

Apologies for the poor top pictures – the photos were taken through the window in a hurry

Guard Cat:
Jasper, our guard cat (well, my neighbour’s cat), has taken to sitting under the bird feeder – thankfully he’s not particularly interested in the birds – we think he’s searching for other creatures. It brightens my day when he visits, especially when he shirks his duties and just rolls around on the driveway being cute (last pic from Week 35):

Tiny Beautiful Nature:
When I was sat watching Jasper on his guard duty, I noticed a tiny flower by his side (you can just about see it in the above picture too). I had to have a closer look and observed the pretty intricacy despite its tiny size:

Amusing Shadows and Bendy Birds:
Mum and I went out for a walk and found a pond currently popular with the ducks – we spent quite some time watching them – they have such bendy necks! When I was taking photos, I noticed our shadows looked amusingly oddly-shaped – we had our raincoats tied around our waists – I’m on the right:

Ghostly Friends:
I’ve missed seeing Bevy in person and I’m super excited she’s back – hopefully we can see each other in real-life soon. However, she appears to have become somewhat ghostly since we last met – she’s that eerie figure in the bottom of the screen. And Harry, Bevy’s boyfriend, lurking in another room, seems to be bodiless. Perhaps I should be concerned about meeting up with these people:

Homemade Gifts (for Me):
My highlight was the birthday presents my Aunt sent back with my parents. My Birthday was back in February and my Aunt had offered to post them, but I said I was happy to wait. Receiving presents is always a delight, but even more so when they’re created especially for me. My talented Aunt sent over a whole package of beautifully handmade crystal-based gifts. So, I took my time enjoying opening and appreciating each treasure:

The intentionally prolonged present opening process
My presents on display. The suncatchers still look beautiful without bright sunshine

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

>>>Week 45
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Health Diary Week 42: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Two-Faced Joy

Angkor Wat, Cambodia (2006)

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<<<Week 41

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

You may have noticed my blog format has changed slightly. Any feedback gratefully received – I want to make this blog as user-friendly as possible.

My 14 days quarantine is flying by, although I have to say, I’m looking forward to getting back out on my walks and hopefully seeing a few friends in person (still physically distanced).

I had my first job interview (online) in many years. Despite extensive preparation, my nerves led to initially stumbling over my words. The rest seemed to go well though and it was good practise whatever the outcome. I’d had a break after finishing 5 years studying to focus on my long-term health – leading to this blog creation – more in About and Week 0. Now much refreshed and motivated, I’m ready to re-enter employment, hopefully within the NHS. I’ll keep you posted.

Ummm, so this was the most relevant image that appeared when I searched for ‘NHS’ and ‘National Health Service’ on Pixabay. (Image: Andrew Martin, Pixabay)

Food and Nutrition

Okay, 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:

Hmmm, I only managed fruit (mango) once – this needs to increase. I made a wise decision to freeze the rest of my blueberry muffins – just one crept in for breakfast. I reduced the biscuit intake, although this can be improved on. I had cereal twice (I didn’t need the added sugar the first time) and a slice of wholegrain seeded toast with peanut butter and raspberry jam:

Week 42 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I had My Typical Salad every day this week, mostly with hash browns, once with rice filled vine leaves. Last week I noted I’d let oily dressings creep in, so I stuck to balsamic vinegar (zero fat, admittedly high in free sugars, but just a drizzle) and sometimes a smidgeon of salad cream (instead of mayo) with my potatoes. And no coleslaw this week, again reducing fat content. Mum made a ‘Sunshine Salad’ (recipe from an Abel and Cole veg box delivery some years back) – watercress, raw grated beetroot, orange (we supplemented with satsuma) and balsamic vinegar – absolutely delicious. We were fortunate to have Padron peppers a couple of times too:

Week 42 Lunches
Clockwise: Salad lunch. Sunshine salad. Cucumbers from my friend. Tomatoes from Abel & Cole veg box

Dinner:

Definitely less total and saturated fat compared to last week without feeling like I’d missed out too much. I love a plate of nibbles, so I thoroughly enjoyed my spring rolls, veg sticks (cucumber, celery, purple carrots), homemade smoked paprika hummus, olives, gherkins, pickled onions and a cheese slice. Then there was one of my favourites: veg-loaded risotto, which stretched into the next day by adding sausages, green beans and tomatoes. I made scrambled tofu (using a combo of smoked firm and silken tofu), once topped with mushrooms and tomatoes. I finished the week with bean chilli, tomato salsa and brown rice, once with guacamole and garlic bread (fat content reduced using a plain baguette and my own garlic butter):

Week 42 Dinners

Snacks:

I reduced my amount of snacking and made healthier choices (less saturated fat) compared to last week. I’m not too concerned about eating some naturally occurring unsaturated fats (e.g. avocado), but I’m trying to minimise added fat (e.g. oils) and saturates (e.g. chips).

On the sweet-side, I only ate chocolate twice – no chocolate bar squares. Instead, I had raw chocolate goji berries and dark chocolate rice crackers – I’m really pleased with myself. Other sweet choices were pineapple (twice), sweet and salty popcorn and when I really craved a jam doughnut (I haven’t had one in like seven years, so that was weird), I compensated with a slice of toast with peanut butter and jam – the fat and sugar combo did the trick.

Savoury snacks were unsalted mixed nuts, rice crackers with hummus, Quorn slices, pasta salad (with leftover beetroot) and a few handfuls of crisps/potato chips. Now, the pasta was mayo-based (rapeseed oil), so it contained the added unsaturated fat I was trying to minimise. And, the crisps were loaded in saturated fat, so I want to reduce these occurrences in the future. Overall decent choices though: 

Week 42 Snacks

Alcohol

I drank about five units of alcohol over three days: three spiced rums (one was a double) and a small glass of wine:

Week 42 Alcohol
This was how much wine I drank – just a tipple

Exercise

I was quite shocked to realise I’d only completed 179 minutes (just under three hours) physical activity – last week I thought the 246 minutes (four hours) was low. This has been a hot and muggy week and I couldn’t get out-and-about for a stroll due to quarantine; regardless, I know I could have done better than this:

Week 42 exercise

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Well, as you can imagine, I was mighty relieved to have lost 2.0 lb (0.9 kg) of the 3.0 lb (1.4 kg) weight gained last week. My fat percentage also dropped by 0.8% since last week, so I was pleased about that too:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I love writing this section. Looking back on these little moments of happiness brings back the positive memories and makes me smile all over again.

Two-Faced Joy:
Last week I explained how the mango stone dolls came about. In the top photo you’ll see my Mum’s original creation. As suspected, she decided to take it further and upon remembering she had googly eyes packed away, dug these out and added them to Mango Man (bottom pic). He’s grown a moustache too. Mum then created a lady on the other side of the stone – doesn’t she look lovely:

Passive Aggressive Wii:
Usually passive aggressiveness does not make me smile, but I was amused by Wii Fit’s attempt. It started with only showing Mum as being active – the rest of us were asleep (I’m on the right). Then there was the greeting when I signed in – my absence has been duly noted – thank you Wii Fit:

Woodpecker Distraction:
The woodpeckers have been noisy, but elusive – they don’t visit the bird feeder when we’re close by. So, imagine my delight when I spotted and captured on video what appears to be a juvenile woodpecker. At the time I was doing Wii Fit, so I paused to observe – thank goodness Wii didn’t have anything to say about my break:

Screen shot from my two-minute video

Mummy Bird’s Berry Feast:
It seems Baby Bird has matured and ventured off on his own now. But we still have the joy of visits from Mummy Bird, albeit less frequently. It was lovely to watch her feasting on blackberries:

A Sunset Excursion to the Water:
My week’s highlight was our excursion to the water’s edge. It was so nice to go out even though we couldn’t leave the car due to our self-imposed quarantine. The breeze as we drove to our destination was a treat – we’re having a heatwave in the UK. I was delighted to catch the sunset over the water – I love a sunset (or sunrise):

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

>>>Week 43
<<<Week 41
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Health Diary Week 41: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

I Spy with My Little Eye…

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<<<Week 40

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

Well, from last Tuesday night our household went into a voluntary 14-day quarantine, as the plan is to meet up with some family who’ve been shielding. Now, we realise the shielding ‘rules’ have relaxed, but we’re going by the science (as we understand it) and we’re conscious the virus is still lurking out there, so we’re reducing risk where we can.

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:

I started the week with the last of my hot cross chocco buns, half with raspberry jam. Midweek, I had breakfast fruit: papaya and watermelon and mango. The remainder of my breakfasts were cereal and those oat and fruit biscuits (three times) – the biscuits are becoming a bit of a habit, instead of the originally intended occasional grab-and-go, so I need to curb this and sometimes replace them with fruit and/or porridge oats:

Week 41 Breakfasts

Lunch:

Lunches were My typical salad, with either hash browns or rice-filled vine leaves, except for one day when I had a leftover portion of veg spaghetti (pic in Week 40). The oil-based dressings have crept back in since lockdown, becoming a regular – they may contain a source of omega 3 health-promoting fat (rapeseed oil), but are still calorie-dense nonetheless, so this is another habit I want to reduce by replacing with balsamic dressing, along with less regular coleslaw consumption:

Week 41 Lunches

Dinner:

On the non-salad lunch day we compensated with a Shawarma kebab loaded and accompanied by mixed salad and coleslaw for dinner. We added the coleslaw as it was at its end date. The combo of fat-dense (not saturates at least) coleslaw and garlic mayo upped the calorie and fat intake. But I made matters worse by a high-saturated fat meal of cauliflower and broccoli cheese (coconut-based cheese). The cheese-thing happened because it had reached its end date. At least there was plenty of veg, as it also included Brussel sprouts and green beans:

Week 41 Dinners

Another ‘end date’ occurrence happened (notice a pattern?) on Sunday evening, resulting in me eating the whole pumpkin raviolini pack meant for two, with basil pesto (more fat). I think end-dates tend to creep up on us because since ‘Lockdown’ we’ve changed to big food online shopping instead of several smaller shopping visits in person.

All was not lost, Mum made a nutritious fibrous aubergine, pea and potato curry, with red lentil dhal and brown rice that kept us going over two dinners, accompanied by poppadum, onion bhaji (recipe tweaked to reduce oil) and chutneys:

My highlight has to be the delicious creamy (not cream – phew) mushroom and spinach stroganoff in silken tofu sauce with tagliatelle that I happily ate over two days. Using a tofu-based, instead of cream sauce was a healthy low-fat swap:

Snacks:

I was surprised that I hadn’t snacked quite as much as I’d thought:

Week 41 Snacks

My healthiest sweet choice was mango, whilst my least healthy was a Magnum ice cream. I also had two squares of chocolate (twice), some raw chocolate goji berries and a homemade low fat blueberry muffin (using up over-ripe fruit):

My healthiest savoury snacks choices were crispy seaweed thins (twice; love these), veg sticks and/or rice crackers with homemade hummus and gazpacho soup. But, there were several high saturated fat choices too, including cheesy chilli nachos (to use up that cheese), oven fries with mayo and a handful of nachos/crisps (twice). I also had some biscuits (four pack) and ‘ham’ slices with salad cream (three times; odd choice I know):

Alcohol

No booze this week, probably because I didn’t do the weekend online family or friend meets, meaning I wasn’t tempted by social cues.

Exercise

I was physically active over 3 days, bringing my total activity down to 246 minutes (just over four hours), compared to last week’s 472 minutes (nearly eight hours). I don’t have a decent excuse. On a positive note, I finally got back on the exercise bike (last time was 7th July) and completed 85 minutes over two sessions. No Wii Fit though and just one walk before we went into self-imposed quarantine – a decent 161-minutes of which 75 minutes was brisk:

Week 41 Exercise
Image: 16061941, Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Things appear to have gone horribly wrong this week according to my results, as I gained weight by 3.0 lb (1.4 kg) and 0.6% fat. But the weird thing is, I looked in the mirror before weighing myself and was happy with what I saw. And, more importantly I feel the best I have since I probably got that virus back in March (Week 21). So, I’m a bit annoyed about the weight gain, but my overall lifestyle is definitely healthier than it was this time last year and I don’t want to lose sight of that:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

There were a couple of occurrences that made me chuckle on top of the usual smiles, so I’ll start and end with those:

Mango Man:
I think my Mum has secretly set herself a challenge to find something new each week to make me smile. This week was ‘Mango Man’ – I discovered him on the tub of muffins. The background to this is that when I was a child my Nana (Mum’s Mum) would tell us tales from her life in India. One being mango stone dolls. Here’s Mum’s first attempt (I suspect they’ll be more to follow):

Friends:
My friend Chud popped round for a chat (physically distanced in the garden) and bore gifts from his garden of cucumbers and rhubarb. Mum made Dad a rhubarb crumble and used the rest for jam – this made my Dad smile. The cucumbers were a lovely treat with homemade hummus:

Sunflower Shoots:
Trying sunflower shoots for the first time. These were our Abel and Cole veg surprise. They were tasty and I like nice surprises:

Woodpecker Visit:
We finally had a visit (although fleeting) from one of the elusive woodpeckers – I’m assuming it’s a great spotted woodpecker. This birdie was a very messy eater:

Left: Image: Carola68 Die Welt ist bunt……, Pixabay. Right: My best attempt (rather poor I know) to capture the woodpecker

The WordPress Community:
A lovely thank you from fellow WordPress blogger, Hamish, from Hard lines, heavy times, and handblocks. I’m really enjoying being part of the WordPress community and it really made my day seeing my name for the first time in someone else’s blog post. I thoroughly enjoy reading Hamish’s inspiring writing:

I Spy with My Little Eye…:
…Hang on. What is that?!? Oh, it’s a ‘Cat Bird’. We spotted an unusual sight up in the trees (top pic). On closer inspection we saw it was a cat. I went outside to check if she was stuck – she was fine and gracefully made her way to the ground:

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

>>>Week 42
<<<Week 40
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Health Diary Week 40: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Some Personal Bests

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<<<Week 39

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

Food and Nutrition

Breakfast:

So, I skipped breakfast once as I knew I was going out for a calorie-dense lunch – more on that shortly. I had mango twice and pineapple once – an improvement on last week’s no morning fruit. I ate Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise cereal once and had my easy go-to Nairn’s oat biscuits 4 times:

Week 40 Breakfasts

Lunch:

Predictably, I had My typical salad for lunch – 5 times this week. I cooked up some THIS Isn’t Bacon rashers that were at their end date, using some in a ‘bacon’ roll and keeping the remainder for a dinner ingredient:

My lunch (and social) highlight has to be the meal out at Offbeet New Forest, sat in the Sunnyfields Farm Pyramid Field, chatting with my friend Harry and briefly Bevy when she joined us online. Along with the creamy curried gnocchi, I shared some of my parents’ Indian loaded fries. It was all so very tasty:

I took the photo; the description image is from Offbeet’s website
Week 40 Lunches

Dinner:

This week’s dinners included a seriously loaded (and messy) Plant Pioneer burger with oven fries – we’re talking melted Applewood cheese, lettuce, tomato, gherkins, coleslaw, fried onion and tomato salsa. After my big lunch out, I had a toasted sandwich for dinner – Applewood cheese, Quorn ‘ham’ slices, homemade coleslaw and tomato:

Twice I had leftover Veg Risotto (Week 39) with a cheeky dollop of mayo mixed in – I just love risotto, especially with broad beans:

Then there was ratatouille, another favourite – it’s basically tomato, peppers, courgettes and aubergine. We had it with 2 Plant Pioneer jackfruit burgers and a Waitrose breaded jackfruit burger divided between the 3 of us. The next day was the magical meal transformation: we used leftover ratatouille as a sauce with spaghetti (Dove’s brown rice) and added white cabbage, THIS Isn’t Bacon rashers and olives – I was completely happy to have it the next day for dinner too:

Week 40 Dinners

Snacks:

I was more mindful of my snacking compared to last week, resulting in eating less and reduced saturated fat options:

Week 40 Snacks

Admittedly there were still some unhealthier choices – a couple of times over the weekend I had some Kettle Chips crisps. Decent savoury snacks included my go-to Peckish rice crackers and hummus a couple of times, once also with some baby peppers. Also, I had some mixed unsalted nuts and Karma Bites popped lotus seeds:

Sweet snacks included my usual 2-4 chocolate bar squares on 4 days – surprisingly not every day. But I did have the last Gu vanilla and chocolate cheesecake (at its end date) – massively indulgent, being high in total and saturated fat. I had fruit a few times though, including strawberries, raspberries and the mango surrounding the stones – being offered the stone is a treat in my household and brings back childhood memories with my Nana:

Alcohol

My alcohol intake (spiced rum with Diet cola) was acceptable, within the recommended 14 units maximum weekly allowance, although I would’ve liked to reduce it from 9 units down to 6 units over the 3 evenings I drank. No inconvenient hangovers at least:

Week 40 Alcohol
Image: Drinkaware

Exercise

I completed a 40 minutes Wii Fit session on aerobic and balance exercises. No exercising biking, but I’ll do it again when I’m stuck inside for our 14 days self-imposed quarantine. I set myself a challenge to go out walking every day this week – I’m proud to report I succeeded, totalling 432 minutes (just over 7 hours), of which 286 minutes (over 4.5 hours) was brisk. That’s nearly 8 hours total physical activity, compared to just under 3 hours last week – I’m very happy with that:

Week 40 Exercise
Active 10 walks

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, so how did all my actions reflect in my weekly results? Well, I’m pleased to report I lost the weight gained last week, plus a little more: I lost 2.2 lb (1 kg) and 0.6% fat – phew:

My progress may seem slow and somewhat up-and-down, but its’ to be expected when working towards healthy sustainable weight loss through a nutritional, but also non-restrictive method. The dip in weight, between Week 21 and Week 23, was when I’d been feeling my worst with suspected COVID-19 (thankfully I’m okay now), so a weight gain after that is to be expected really. Hopefully I’m back on more of a downward trend again now:

Key: SI: self-isolation (due to symptoms). LD: Lockdown. PLD: Partial lockdown

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Right, I think it’s time to move on to those smile-provoking experiences…

I’m an Amateur:
I had a run of Wii Fit personal bests in super hula hoop, advanced rhythm boxing, step plus, balance bubble and most excitingly heading – I’d got progressively worse at heading, but this week I achieved my highest score and reached amateur status – yey!:

From 18 points (Week 38) to 67 points (Week 40)

The WordPress Community:
A lovely compliment from fellow WordPress blogger, Troy Headrick from Pointless Overthinking, about my fruit face avatar designed by my Mum, based on how she sees me in fruit form:

Clockwise: The inspiration by congerdesign (Pixabay). Mum’s first attempt. Me. My final profile picture

Coffee and Birds:
The simplistic daily morning ritual of bird watching and coffee on the driveway with my parents. I can’t share the bird feeding videos on here, but I’m posting some on my Instagram if you’re interested:

Mummy Bird feeding Baby Bird


The Dusk Sky:
Thank you Tina for pointing out the dusk sky during our online Houseparty meet-up. I hadn’t actually properly appreciated it until looking back at my photo:

Lunch Out:
Feeling safe enough to collect food from my favourite food place (Offbeet New Forest) and eat comfortably alfresco in the Sunnyfields Farm Pyramid Field. And of course the social side of meeting Harry and Bevy for a lunchtime catch up and having a quick chat with Offbeet Chef and friend (Bald Vegan Chef):

Images: Top: Offbeet; bottom: Pyramid Field at Sunnyfields Farm

Nature Walks:
Spotting beautiful, surprising or amusing nature whilst out walking:

My Neighbour:
Walks with my kind neighbour Elise who is helping me explore the local area to figure out where I want to live:

Elise during our stroll in a park

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy reading everyone else’s inspirational and informative posts.

>>>Week 41
<<<Week 39
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Health Diary Week 39: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

I’ve got a Lovely Bunch of Coconut…Fat

Image: meadowflowers, Pixabay

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<<<Week 38

Hi all, it’s already that time for another weekly instalment of what was on my plate, my health updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

What’s New

…Okay, let me start by explaining I was incredibly tired this week, resulting in minimal exercise and a lack of willpower to resist less healthy comfort-food. Having said that, I was still productive in other ways, including my ongoing job search. So, let’s have a proper look at my (poorer) food choices.

Food and Nutrition

Breakfast:

I was surprised on analysis of my food diary to see I hadn’t eaten any breakfast fruit this week. I had a banana bread muffin (3 times), Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise cereal (twice), Nairn’s oat and fruit biscuits (4 pack) and a toasted ham (Quorn) and cheese (Applewood) sandwich:

Lunch:

I’m happy to report I still had my typical salad over 5 days, providing a good range of nutrients and gut-health promoting fibre[1]. Once I had an easy option Itsu chilli miso rice noodle pot – at least it  was low in total and saturated fat and sugars:

And then, there was the highlight: my first meal out since lockdown – Offbeet New Forest Caribbean ‘fish’ n chips’ (banana blossom ‘fish’) – yep, deep fried indulgence – and I can’t bring myself to regret it – it tasted amazing:

My photo doesn’t do this dish justice. Description image: Offbeet

Dinner:

I didn’t really meal prep this week, taking easy options, because I just didn’t have the energy and motivation. These easy meals included a whole Whole Creations roasted tomato and basil ‘sheesy’ pizza (I added fresh tomato and olives) and Amy’s Kitchen Thai red curry – both containing substantial coconut-based saturated fat – whoops:

Other minimal effort meals were pasta-based: Dell Ugo pumpkin raviolini with Yellow Mellow rapeseed chilli oil (source of omega 3 essential fat[2]), and a version of my go-to pasta salad with Quorn ‘ham’ slices, olives, sundried tomato, pepper, mayo and that chilli oil again:

Thankfully, we had some bean chilli and brown rice leftovers (Week 38) – a high fibre and nutrient-rich meal. Also, Mum cooked-up a couple of veg-packed tasty dishes: stir-fried veg (peppers, broccoli, cabbage, beansprouts) with King Soba sweet potato and buckwheat noodles in a Chow Mein sauce. And my favourite, risotto, loaded with broad beans (absolutely love broad beans), frozen peas, asparagus and tomatoes:

Snacks:

There was a lot of snacking! I was excessive on the chocolate stuff, including the usual 2 – 4 choc bar squares depending on size (I’m okay with this). But, the least healthy culprits were a Lazy Days chocolate chip shortbread (just the 1), Offbeet chocolate orange brownie (eaten in 2 sittings) and the Gu chocolate and vanilla cheesecake (again high in total and saturated fats and sugars). I think having either the brownie or the cheesecake would have been acceptable, both in a week was a bit excessive:

Another saturated fat culprit was the Offbeet coconut matcha latte – I don’t actually regret that indulgence though, as it really is a rarity. But I do regret the coconut-based (yep – more coconut fat!) cheesy chilli nachos even though I kept the cheese fairly minimal. And then there was yet more fat – M&S Plant Kitchen onion bhajis with mango chutney, oven fries and crisps: Kettlechips sea salt and balsamic vinegar crisps and Piper’s tomato crisps:

All is not lost on the snacking front; I also chose some healthier savoury snacks, including leftover pasta salad, hummus with Peckish rice crackers and/or Hippeas salt & vinegar puffs, Shore Thai chilli seaweed puffs, Itsu seaweed thins and almonds:

And to some extent I made up for the lack of breakfast fruit by snacking on watermelon (twice), pineapple and strawberries:

Alcohol

My alcohol consumption was acceptable – I had 3 singles/units of spiced rum with diet cola and lime. I’m happy with that.

Exercise

My physical activity levels were low for me: only 179 minutes (nearly 3 hours), mostly through walking (149 minutes total, 103 minutes brisk). I only used Wii Fit once for 30 minutes of aerobic exercises and I didn’t use my exercise bike at all:

I’m a ‘Roaring Fire’ – I achieved my best scores so far on Wii Fit Rhythm Boxing and Step Plus

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Well, I think it’s clear I consumed far too much saturated fat, particularly of the coconut variety[3, 4]. Therefore, it’s no surprise I gained both weight (1.8 lb, 0.8 kg) and fat (0.9%). All I can say is I had one of those off-weeks and having identified where I let things slip should mean I’ll be more aware of not repeating the same behaviour next week – I hope!:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Right, it’s about time for some positive vibes…

Avocado Bag:
Mum fixed the hole in my much-loved quirky handbag by making an avocado with a little heart in the middle to patch up the hole:

Baby Bird:
Baby Bird is all grown up – well, more like adolescent stage, insisting Mum still does the feeding:

Then (Week 37) versus Now

Accidental Heart Soap:
The accidental heart formation on my hand soap: There was a bit of leftover soap in the dish that attached itself to my new bar in the shape of a heart. I neatened it up a bit (2nd pic):

Rocket Fire Hula Hooper:
I’m ‘Rocket Fire’ on Wii Fit hula hooping! I was laughing at myself imagining how ridiculous I must look , without an actual hula hoop, trying to maintain my hip movements, especially as I get more tired towards the end of the session:

Beautiful Butterfly:
Finally capturing a decent picture of a butterfly – I’ve seen loads, but they don’t stay still long enough to capture them on camera. This beautiful creature was spotted on one of my walks:

Lunch Out:
The highlight has to be the excursion to Offbeet New Forest – I absolutely love their food. We met Harry there and sat in a large field, picnic tables spaced well over 2 meters from each other, with some background tunes playing. We video-called Bevy (Harry’s other half and one of my besties) several times to keep her informed of our food progress:

Clockwise: Video-call to Bevy – if you zoom-in, you’ll see me masked-up in the background waving from a safe distance while waiting for our food. Harry’s Greek ‘lamb’ style tacos. Dad atop the hill contemplating life. Well-distanced picnic tables.

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

>>>Week 40
<<<Week 38
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References

1. British Dietetic Association, 2016. Fibre: Food Fact Sheet [online].  Available from: www.bda.uk.com/resource/fibre.html.

2. Heart UK, Ca. 2020. Omega 3 fats [online]. Available from: www.heartuk.org.uk/low-cholesterol-foods/omega-3-fats.

3. British Nutrition Foundation, 2020. BNF answers some common questions on coconut oil [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/article/998/BNF%20FAQs%20Coconut%20Oil%202020.pdf.
4. ‘NHS Behind the Headlines, 2017. ‘Avoid fads and stick to diet guidelines,’ say US heart experts [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/avoid-fads-and-stick-to-diet-guidelines-say-us-heart-experts/.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 38: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

100 Follows – Thank You!

Image: Mr Harry Jackson

Home
<<<Week 37

Hi all, welcome to another weekly instalment of what was on my plate, my health results and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

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:

My breakfasts were sparse on fruit again – I had fresh papaya with lime juice and some strawberries. Unfortunately, we can’t really count the homemade banana bread muffin or raspberry jam (on a hot cross bun) as fruit portions, but they were rather tasty. I also ate Nairn’s oat and fruit biscuits (twice), Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise cereal and Quorn ham free slices and coleslaw on toast (not pictured):

Lunch:

I had salad for lunch every day (go me) – my typical salad six times with either falafel, hash browns or rice-filled vine leaves, accompanied by homemade fennel-based coleslaw, or the shop-bought stuff. The salads were all delicious, but my highlight has to be the Vivera Shawarma kebab loaded with salad in garlic mayo sauce:

Dinner:

Dinners were nicely varied; it’s hard to pick a highlight, but I suppose if I had to, it would be the veg-fest of roasted cauliflower (coated in tahini and spice sauce), potatoes and mixed carrots with runner beans and courgette:

A close second was one of my favourite meals: risotto with an array of veg – broad beans (my fav), peas, courgette, asparagus, spinach and tomato. I mixed in a small spoonful of mayo on the leftovers day to add a bit more creaminess for variety, surprising it doesn’t look as appetising with the mayo – still tasted great though:

Naturally (for me), I chose more rice-based dishes, this time with fibrous brown rice: a red lentil dhal and mixed bean chilli with nachos, guacamole, salsa and garlic bread (confession: I ate way more garlic bread than that one piece on my plate) – both meals were delicious:

And who doesn’t love a jacket potato, right? I had it with baked beans (easy option), followed the next day by melted cheese, hummus, coleslaw, salad (leaves, tomato, celery, red onion) and gherkins:

Snacks:

As always, there was plenty of snacking between meals. Some were healthier choices than others: tasty watermelon, Itsu seaweed thins (not pictured) and hummus with baby cucumber and/or Peckish rice crackers. However, once I also snacked on some cheesy chilli nachos (messy photo!):

Of, course there were daily chocolate snacks, usually 4 to 8 squares depending on size. One day I ate a whole 25g bar (smaller than an average bar) of Doisy and Dam, regretting it within minutes, as I felt kind of nauseous – eating half the bar would have been a more enjoyable experience – silly, greedy me:

The snack winner was a post-lunch desert: A delectable pavlova (made from the water leftover from a can of chickpeas) with coconut and rum cream (instead of dairy cream) and a topping of fresh strawberries and pineapple – thanks Mum, it was amazing:

Alcohol

I drank alcohol (10 units of spiced rum) over two days – closer to the 14-unit weekly UK limit recommendation[1] than I’m comfortable with; plus four of those drinks were with non-diet ginger beer adding additional calories to the estimated 488 empty (no nutritional benefit) calories consumed[2]:

I didn’t make up for the calories by running! Images: Drinkaware

Exercise

Physical activity levels were lower than usual, totalling 255 minutes (4 ¼ hours). Walking was my predominant activity: 175 minutes total (53 minutes brisk), followed by 45 minutes exercise biking and 35 minutes on Wii Fit aerobic and balance exercises – How is it I’ve managed to get progressively worse at ‘Heading’ a ball!?! This week I achieved my worst score ever:

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Despite my snack indulgences and reduced activity levels, somehow my weight and fat percentage stayed the same – I honestly thought there would be a gain – I’m surprised and relieved:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Okay, time to move on to the ‘What Made Watson Smile’ positives:

100 Follows:
Well, I have to start with a huge highlight – achieving over 100 Follows. A massive thank you to everyone who has/is supporting me by reading these blogs:

Bevy and I, Wales (2012)

Nature Education:
Being reliably informed the ‘coal tits’ I’d referred to in my last blog were actually ‘long-tailed tits’. My bird (and any nature-related) knowledge is incredibly limited – we have a tick-box book to identify birds, insects and plants. Here’s another visit to our driveway from those long-tailed tits:

Special Supermarket Delivery:
My Vegan Kind Supermarket delivery haul. It mainly contained ‘discretionary’ foods (aka chocs and crisps) – I’ve promised myself I’ll work my way slowly through them:

Walking to Socialise:
Enjoying walking again since discovering quiet local routes. On one walk, I watched busy bees amongst a large lavender plant. And, using walking to socialise (physically distanced) with friends. My friend and I walked many circles around a local park chatting for about an hour and a half:

Family Quiz Error:
The online family quiz error. I’m not a fan of quizzes, so I was the ‘Quiz Master’ using questions and answers Mum had cut-and-pasted from a website. She had been careful not to look too closely at the answers and hadn’t realised she’d missed a section of answers, so on my first glance it looked like the planet closest to the sun was apparently ‘Buttocks’, not Mercury:

Reminiscing to Inspire:
Reminiscing with Mum about our times on the beach and snorkelling, because her art class project was ‘Where would you like to be?’. Mum chose snorkelling, so I sent her a range of photos for inspiration:

Right to left. Top: My sister & I ready for snorkelling, British Virgin Islands (1980s), Me snorkelling, Xel-Ha, Mexico (2003). Middle: Me snorkelling, River Prata, Brazil (2008). Bottom: Snorkelling, Galapagos Islands (2008).

Mum’s art class picture inspired by waking up with the Beatles lyrics from ‘Octupus’s Garden’ in her head and subsequently asking me for snorkelling inspiration photos:

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

>>>Week 39
<<<Week 37
Home

References

1. Drinkaware, 2020. Units and calories in spirits [online]. Available from:  www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/alcoholic-drinks-and-units/units-and-calories-in-alcoholic-drinks/spirits.
2. Drinkaware, 2020. Units and calorie counter [online]. Available from:  www.drinkaware.co.uk/tools/unit-and-calorie-calculator.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 37: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Driveway Antics

Home
<<<Week 36

Hi all, welcome to another weekly instalment, starting with what was on my plate (literally), followed by my health results and closing with some positive smile-provoking experiences…

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:

This week I lacked in my usual fruity breakfast start – I had pineapple once. Instead, a couple of times I ate Nairn’s Oaties biscuits (4 pack) or opted for heartier Meridian yeast extract on toast, scrambled tofu on toast or Nature’s Path granola cereal:

Lunch:

Of course, for lunch I had my typical salad (5 times) with either Strong Roots hash browns, rice-filled vine leaves or falafel. My shawarma kebab (Vivera) also contained plenty of salad, although another day I caved to cheesy chilli nachos with Applewood vegan cheese, tomato, jalapenos, black olives and sriracha sauce:

Dinner:

Dinners were mostly rice or pasta-based – I absolutely love my carbs! I try to choose the fibrous wholegrain options (e.g. brown rice, lentil/chickpea pasta) over refined white rice or pasta. On the only non-rice or pasta day, Mum made ratatouille (minus the aubergine), with Linda McCartney caramelised onion and rosemary sausages, more veg: steamed broad beans, peas, carrot and broccoli and roasted potato and yellow sweet potato. We stretched the leftover ratatouille (twice) into a spaghetti mix with added Plant Pioneer chorizo sausages and black olives – delicious:

We had homemade veg curry (chickpeas, spinach, potato and carrot) with brown rice, poppadums and chutneys. It was stretched into another meal later in the week by accompanying with red lentil dhal:

Naturally there were days when preparing dinner from scratch was unappealing. One evening I opted for Tilda lime and coriander rice topped with avocado, tomato, red onion and sriracha sauce. Another simple meal was pasta with sweetcorn, olives and Ponti Zero Olio sundried tomato and pepper, drizzled in Mellow Yellow chilli oil:

Snacks:

I snacked quite a bit again, particularly on ‘discretionary foods’ (a term picked up from the Food as Medicine Future Learn course) i.e. chocolate, although in small quantities. Also, more sensibly, I satisfied my sweet craving a couple of times with fruit (mango, strawberries). Savoury snacks included popcorn, a healthier choice than the crisps I also had, although I portioned them into a bowl (a strategy used by a friend with her children) to avoid over-indulging:

Alcohol

I also consumed alcohol (5 units) at the weekend.

Exercise

My physical activity levels were a little lower compared to recent weeks, totalling 296 minutes (just under 5 hours). I ventured out for 3 walks (146 minutes total, 114 minutes brisk), used the exercise bike once for 60 minutes and the Wii Fit twice (90 minutes total) concentrating on aerobic and balance exercises.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Taking all the above and my snacking into consideration, I was relieved not to have gained any weight this week, although there was a slight fat increase:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

There were plenty of positives this week. Here’s a compilation of ‘What Made Watson Smile’:

I reached 500 total Likes!:
When I first started blogging, it was mainly for personal motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle. It feels rewarding and motivating to know you’re reading my posts. Thank you all so much for your support:  

Birds, Lots of Birds:
The little coal tit (I think) bird invasion on our driveway. How many birds can you spot? I think I see 9:

Future Learn Food as Medicine course:
Completing the 3-week Future Learn Food as Medicine course. It was so interesting and informative for nutrition beginners or as a refresher. I’m a strong believer in constant learning to improve oneself – the more I learn the more I realise how much I don’t know:

Driveway Antics:
Driveway wildlife antics. Loving my morning coffee sat on the driveway looking out over the pond watching the feeding birds, cheeky squirrels, flitty butterflies and occasional dragonfly:

Tiny Flowers and a Shiny Bug:
On one of my walks noticing this beautiful purple bunch of tiny flowers; then looking closer and seeing a little shiny bug:

Baby Bird Introductions:
Meeting our friend Mummy bird’s baby bird for the first time. My parents said baby bird was ugly, but I think he’s kind of cute really:

Completing my Latest Article: Probably ‘That’ Coronavirus:
Publishing my article: Probably ‘that’ coronavirus: My symptoms – I’d started writing it back in May – it was a difficult one to write:

Weird Bed-Hair:
Laughing at myself – I woke up one morning to this weird bed-hair, although upon reflection, not as out-of-control as this humidity morning bed-hair when I was on Sal (Cape Verde Islands) back in 2014:

2020 versus 2014 morning bed-hair

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

>>>Week 38
<<<Week 36
Home

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 36: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Radish Anyone?

Home
<<<Week 35

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a good week so far. Here’s an insight into what was on my plate during Week 36…

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:

…I had 3 fruity breakfasts, including strawberries, pineapple and papaya. Starting with fruit is a great way to work towards obtaining your 5 a day of fruit and veg[1], even better if you mix it with a grain like porridge or wholegrain cereal to increase fibre intake[2]:

Now to quickly slip in the confession: I started Saturday with some ‘hangover’crisps after Friday’s almost whole bottle of wine. Okay, moving on… Other breakfasts included an Incredible Bakery bun (choc chip) with Abel and Cole raspberry jam, Nairn’s oat biscuits (twice) and delicious and filling scrambled tofu on toast:

Lunch:

I skipped lunch twice, once due to the filling scrambled tofu breakfast. Lunches included my My Typical Salad (of course) 3 times with falafel or Strong Roots hash browns and homemade coleslaw. A salad assortment is a great way to obtain those essential vitamins and minerals[3], build on your 5-a-day and 30 grams (UK adults) of fibre:

My other lunches were an Incredible Bakery onion and seed flatbread filled with Quorn smoky ham free slices, Applewood vegan cheese, homemade coleslaw, salad, Follow Your Heart vegenaise (mayo) and sriracha sauce. My first attempt at egg-free (tofu) mayo sandwich (Incredible Bakery buckwheat bread) tasted amazing, although its consistency needs tweaking:

Dinner:

A couple of dinners made up somewhat for those missed lunchtime salads, including my typical salad and salad with a scrumptious Waitrose jackfruit burger and Sainsbury’s low-fat oven chips:

Twice for dinner, I enjoyed Mexican bean chilli with brown rice (great fibre source[4]), once with cheesy garlic toast, another day with nachos. Both times accompanied by tomato salsa and avocado:

Dinners also included a satisfying nibbly plate of Incredible Bakery garlic and rosemary boule, hummus, avocado, coleslaw, gherkins, olives, Applewood vegan cheese and silverskin pickled onions. One evening I had a Whole Creations roasted tomato and basil pizza – I added black olives and Ponti Zero Olio sundried tomatoes and peppers – tasty. And I made another not-egg mayo sandwich (loving this creation) with baby leaf spinach:

Snacks:

As expected, this ‘chocolate monster’ ate chocolate every day (2-4 squares depending on size) and I indulged in a Magnum ice cream when it was swelteringly hot:

I had some savoury snacks too, including leftover pasta salad (sundried tomato, red and yellow pepper, black olives and spring onion), not-egg mayo (I know, I’m devouring the tofu!) on toast and Nature’s Path granola cereal. Other snacks were Cofresh Balti mix, Nom salted maple popcorn, Shore seaweed puffs and Itsu crispy seaweed thins:

Alcohol

None.

Exercise

I can proudly report I was physically active over 5 days, totalling 372 minutes (over 6 hours): 160 minutes walking (67 minutes brisk), 115 minutes exercise biking and 97 minutes Wii Fit in a combination of aerobic, balance, muscle and yoga exercises:

I miss circuit training & PT boxing sets – Wii Fit will have to suffice for now. I found a use for my large tin of jackfruit as I couldn’t find my weights. My week’s Active 10 walks.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Despite all that snacking and the wine, I still achieved a loss of 1.2 lb (0.54 kg) and 1% fat – improvement 2 weeks in a row – yey!:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

The above weekly result made me smile, that’s for sure. Now, let’s take a look at more of ‘What Made Watson Smile’…

Impeccable Dove and Scruffy Robin:
The impeccable dove and scruffy robin sighted on the same day:

Seedling Kits and Resultant Radishes:
The M&S Little Garden seedling kits progression. I think we have beetroot, chilli, basil and carrot featured here:

Our first harvest from the M&S Little Garden seedling kit – we discovered some radishes were ready for eating:

Top left image: M&S

Sunbathing Bird:
When it was super hot our little bird friend (she visits us every day requesting food) enjoyed some sunbathing and the fresh water bowl:

Vegan and Gluten-Free Bakery Delivery:
My Incredible Bakery delivery – not just bread – I also received soda (reduced sugar), chilli oil, balsamic dressing, popcorn, chocolate oat bar and jackfruit:

Seagull Madness:
Seagull madness – there were loads of them. My photo didn’t do the scene (and sound) justice:

Completing Wii-Fit Bubble Balance:
Finally completing Wii Fit Bubble Balance (albeit slowly) on the 9th attempt and being classed as ‘Amateur’ instead of ‘Unbalanced’ – I’ll happily take that:

Online Social Meet-Ups:
Online social meet ups. This week I met with friend (and ex work colleague) Karen, pub mates, family and friends Bevy and Harry:

A catch up with Karen was a welcome break from my studying in the garden

Neighbours and Wine:
My highlight has to be the evening with my neighbours (and my wine) in their garden (physically distanced of course). I’ve started carefully widening my social bubble, soon to include a couple more friends – so excited!:

Cautiously widening my social bubble while I can
(Image: Tabeajaichhalt, Pixabay)

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

>>>Week 37
<<<Week 35
Home

References

1. British Dietetic Association, 2017. Fruit and vegetables – how to get five-a-day: Food Fact Sheet [online]. Available from: www.bda.uk.com/resource/fruit-and-vegetables-how-to-get-five-a-day.html.
2. National Health Service Eatwell, 2018. How to get more fibre into your diet [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/.
3. National Health Service, Ca. 2020. Overview – Vitamins and minerals [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/.
3. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Dietary fibre [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/basics/fibre.html.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 35: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Cake for Breakfast?!

Dad’s Birthday cake baked by Mum

Home
<<<Week 34

Hey all. I’m going to jump straight into things this week…

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:

It didn’t exactly start off healthily! For breakfast on Monday and Tuesday, I had leftover birthday cake (yep, cake!) – ‘Is she really trying to lose weight?’ I imagine you thinking. Well, my reasoning was I’d eat the cake at some point, so why not have it as a meal (instead as a snack) to reduce total calories. The slight flaw to this logic was it also reduced my key nutrient and fibre intake from my usual fruit or grains/cereal, although to be fair I probably made up for it with everything else I ate:

Breakfasts: Cake, fruit & cereal

Lunch:

Lunches were My Typical Salad (5 days) accompanied by either hash browns (cauliflower or courgette) or rice filled vine leaves. Additions included Padron peppers, artichoke hearts, white asparagus, celery or coleslaw. Other days I had an Itsu satay rice noodle pot and This Isn’t Bacon bun with Mr Organic tomato ketchup (yum!):

Lunches: Typical salad, satay rice noodle pot & not-bacon bun

Dinner:

My dinners were amazing (has to be said)! I love a plate of nibbles, so I had pasta salad, hummus, baby cucumber, radish, silverskin pickled onions, Applewood cheese, gherkins and green olives – delicious! Twice, I ate Vegetable Risotto – I’m so excited broad beans are back in season! Mum made Nana’s spaghetti – a simple dish with white cabbage, ‘bacon’ and tomato-based sauce – tasty! Also, Mum re-attempted cauliflower steaks (very successfully) – cooked whole and marinated in tahini, garlic and spices. We also tried the Beyond Burger, accompanied by low fat oven chips:

Dinners: Pasta & nibbles, veg risotto, Nana’s spaghetti, cauliflower steak (I ate it all), burger & chips

The Beyond Burger was tasty, but left my gut feeling a bit uncomfortable. It contained coconut oil, which triggered my curiosity of how it compared nutritionally to my favourite Plant Pioneer burger. Although the Beyond Burger was lower in sugars and salt, both burgers were in the same traffic light category[1]. I concluded, the Plant Pioneer option was healthier, because of less calories, higher fibre and lower total and saturated fat content:

Beyond Burger versus Plant Pioneer Burger. Plant Pioneer wins for health!

Snacks:

Okay, let’s have a look at my snacking… Of course, I ate chocolate (equivalent of 2 – 4 squares each time), although I didn’t eat any on days I had cake. I ate fruit twice, including mango, pineapple and golden kiwifruit and an indulgent strawberries and Elmlea plant cream. Savoury snacks included Shore seaweed puffs, Itsu crispy seaweed thins, Graze chilli and lime mixed nuts, Dragonfly bubble and squeak cake, handful of crisps/nachos and some leftover pasta:

Snacks: Fruit, chocolate & savoury snacks

Exercise

My physical activity increased by 82 minutes compared to last week, totalling 395 minutes (over 6.5 hours). It included 227 minutes walking (164 minutes brisk) over 5 days – I’m pleased to report I’m feeling less anxious about going out walking. Also, I completed 90 minutes on the exercise bike over 2 sessions and 141 minutes Wii Fit over 3 sessions of aerobic, yoga, muscle and balance exercises:

My balance skills are atrocious, as demonstrated by my Wii Fit ‘Heading’ and ‘Penguin Slide’ scores! Can I blame my dyspraxia[2, 3]? The 70 minute walk (NHS Active 10) was barely noticeable chatting with my friend Elise

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Although I expected no weight gain, I was relieved the scales reflected this, because my poor sleep might have had an impact (as well as the breakfast cake!). So, I’m happy to report 1.4 lb (0.6 kg) weight and 0.4% fat loss:

Week 35 results: Phew!

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

This week’s results made me smile, but there’s more! What [else] Made Watson Smile

I’m 26:
I’m 26! – Well, according to Wii Fit. When I re-started using Wii Fit (after several years), my starting age was 47 – I’m 44, so I was disappointed, but not now:

Veg Box:
Abel and Cole veg box delights of artichokes and Padron peppers (I love both!) – we griddled them to accompany our typical salad lunches:

Widening my Bubble:
Widening my physically distanced social bubble to include my neighbour, Elise and family. I felt it necessary to see other people to protect my mental wellbeing – although it’s lovely to hear about friends visiting with each other, it also highlighted my lack of social contact over the past 98 days[4, 5, 6]. Anyway, enough of that – this is my happy section! Elise pointed out how the tree (below) looked like a friendly monster:

Continuing Professional Development:
Another interesting MyNutriWeb lecture, this time by Dr McArdle (Registered Dietician, Chair of the BDA Diabetes Specialist Group) on ‘Carb Confusion: Carbohydrates & Type 2 Diabetes’. My take home messages were: one size doesn’t fit all; low carb can work short-term only and it depends on individual preference:

Solving the Mayo Mystery:
Mum and I had been searching for the missing Vegenaise aioli for about a week – then we remembered (independently) we’d never received it because it had been out of stock!:

Image: Follow Your Heart

Jasper the Cat:
Jasper, the adorable cat rolling around on the driveway while I was doing my Wii Fit – well, until he distracted me! Before I knew his name, I called him ‘The Orange Cat’ – our first meeting  a couple of years ago was when I awoke to see his paws on the side of my bed and his big eyes staring at me!:

I caught Jasper stalking for birds by the bird table. When he realised I’d spotted him, he decided to act adorable!

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

>>>Week 36
<<<Week 34
Home

References

1. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
2. Dyspraxia Foundation, 2019. Dyspraxia in Adults [online]. Available from: https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-adults/.
3. National Health Service, 2020. Dyspraxia (developmental co-ordination disorder) in adults [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/developmental-coordination-disorder-dyspraxia-in-adults/.
4. Verduyn, P., Gugushvili, N., Massar, K., Täht, K. and Kross, E., 2020. Social comparison on social networking sites. Current Opinion in Psychology [online], 36, 32-37. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2020.04.002.
5. Webber, R., 2017. Psychology Today: The Comparison Trap [online]. Available from: www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201711/the-comparison-trap.
6. Appel, H., Crusius, J. and Gerlach, A. L., 2015. Social Comparison, Envy, and Depression on Facebook: A Study Looking at the Effects of High Comparison Standards on Depressed Individuals. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology [online] 34 (4), 277-289. Available from: https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/10.1521/jscp.2015.34.4.277.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 34: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Positivity

Image: klimkin, 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

I’m pleased to report I’m feeling more positive this week. I’ll begin with what was actually on my plate (or in my bowl) this week…

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:

… I skipped breakfast on 2 days. I had fruit (pineapple, mango, golden kiwifruit) twice, a pack of 4 Nairn’s Oaties biscuits, a banana cake muffin and twice I ate cereal: Nature’s Path granola (our mystery veg box item) and mixed grains:

Breakfasts: Clockwise: Mango, pineapple & golden kiwifruit. Banana cake muffin. Mango & pineapple – I’d found it in the back of the fridge from a while ago thankfully in an airtight jar. Nature’s Path mixed grain cereal.

Lunch:

I had My Typical Salad every day with Strong Roots cauliflower or courgette hash browns. Additions included Padron peppers (yum!), radishes (fresh from our veg box – delicious!), white asparagus (from a jar) and coleslaw:

Lunches: My typical salad with a few additions: Padron peppers, white asparagus, coleslaw & radishes.

Dinner:

Dinners included a rather tasty Thai green curry with jasmine rice (twice), Ugo Thrive pumpkin raviolini, a Heck vegfurter hotdog (with fried onion, gherkin, tomato and mustard), Clive’s tomato and olive tart (with potatoes, broccoli, baby carrots and asparagus), pasta salad (containing garlic, red onion, sundried tomato, black olives, sweetcorn, spinach, mayo and chilli sauce). And, massively disappointing chip shop chips – they weren’t as satisfying as I remembered and certainly not worth the excessive saturated fat, so I won’t be doing that again anytime soon!:

Dinners: Clockwise: Thai green curry. Tomato & olive tart with veg. Chip shop chips. Pasta salad.

Snacks:

I snacked a lot, a mix of savoury and sweet and a variety of portion sizes:
Itsu crispy seaweed thins
Shore seaweed puffs (twice)
Biona crisps (handful)
– Cheesy nachos (twice)
Peckish rice crackers with hummus
– Hummus with baby cucumber and Peckish rice crackers
– Hummus with nachos, baby cucumber, pickled onions and Applewood cheese
– Leftover pasta salad
Enjoy caramel chocolates (2 pieces each time, 5 times)
Jude’s ice cream (once)
– Strawberries and cream sponge cake baked by Mum (1 small slice) – delicious!:

Snacks: Top: Hummus! Middle: Crispy indulgences. Bottom: The sweet-tooth foods!

Alcohol

I consumed alcohol on 2 days: At the online Houseparty with friends I had 4 vodkas with soda water and a can of diet cola with lime slices. On my Dad’s birthday, I had a glass of champagne and a double Hotel Chocolat salted caramel vodka liqueur.

The booze bucket

Exercise

My exercise? I went out walking 3 times, totalling 160 minutes, 94 minutes brisk. Also, I’m getting into Wii Fit again – I did 108 minutes, split over 2 sessions.  And, I used my exercise bike for 45 minutes. A grand total of 313 minutes physical activity (over 5 hours) – I’m happy enough with that.

My walking legs & some pretty daisies

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, I should probably report on my results – I might have been delaying! The truth is I gained 1.6 lb (0.7 kg) and 0.5% fat – oops! I suspected it was due to indulgences towards the end of the week, so I did a sneaky extra weigh-in on Tuesday – I’d lost 1.4 lb of the 1.6 lb gained – I was very relieved! Regardless, let’s see if I manage to lose that extra 0.2 lb and then some for next time.

Week 34 results: Oh dear!

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I think I’ll move swiftly on to What Made Watson Smile – happily, there was quite a lot…

Disapproving Cat:
Have you ever had that feeling someone’s watching you? I suddenly realised my neighbour’s cat was staring at me disapprovingly while I was reading in the garden:

Walking Surprises:
Mum and I had a pleasant brisk walk (you can see Mum striding ahead!), including through some woodland where we saw a tree still decorated from VE day and a cute fairy trail:  

Turtle Cushion:
The gorgeous turtle cushion cover my Mum gave me:

Photo Fails:
My failed attempt to capture a photo of 3 ducks swimming in the river – they just kept moving along with their heads mostly under the water!:

Girly Online Catch-Up:
Zoom meet-up with the girls (yep, includes you Harry! 😉). We hadn’t seen Charlotte since February – excitingly we met her gorgeous ‘lockdown baby’:

Cute New Dress from Erin:
Trying on this cute dress that my friend Erin kindly gifted me some time ago – I had crazy hair in this photo, so I chopped out my head rather than scare people!:

Bug Friend:
This beautiful bug that befriended my Dad while we sat on the driveway bird watching – such amazing detail!:

Bird Watching:
Talking of bird watching. I couldn’t resist a few more pics. Hang on a second – that’s not a bird!:

Sensible Drinking:
Actually having leftover vodka from my meticulously measured out ration for the online ‘pub’ Houseparty with friends – I reckon there’s 2 shots left in there:

Eco-Friendly Behavior:
The continuing cycle of gift bags. My sister had re-used the pink one I’d given her for Mum’s gift – the picture I’d stuck on was from one of my birthday cards. And, for Dad’s present, I re-used a brown paper bag, adding a previous year’s WWF calendar picture. Also, the tiger card I gave my Dad was 100% recycled paper and its protective bag was made from corn starch:   

Dad’s 70th Birthday:
There were several reasons to smile on Dad’s 70th Birthday celebrations:
– My Aunt made my Dad a card with a beautiful photo of a duck inside, but she realised she’d stuck it upside down and sent an explanatory note – I wouldn’t have noticed! Would you?
– My Mum baked a vegan and gluten-free cake, so that I could have some too – it was delicious!
– Champagne (enough said).
– Meeting up with family and friends – Sarah even joined us from New Zealand.
– Rusty the dog making an appearance (can you spot him?).

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. Take care all.

>>>Week 35
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