Health Diary Week 33: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Jenga!

Image: Amy Moore, Pixabay

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Hi again. How quickly the next week comes around!

What’s New

Overall, I’m pleased with this week’s progress, because I’ve struggled emotionally – I’m uncomfortable talking about my feelings, but here’s how I see it using the game ‘Jenga’ as an analogy: I was precariously balanced (I hadn’t realised), then a ‘block’ was removed (nothing major), resulting in me toppling (feeling anxious and alone). However, I’m completely aware I’m in a more fortunate position than many, so I’m ready to pick myself back-up and continue on…

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 fruit (mango and pineapple) only once. I ate a pack of 4 Nairn’s Oaties biscuits 4 times with my morning coffee. I succumbed to a slice of toast with peanut butter and jam one day and skipped breakfast another.

The big share bowl of mango & pineapple – I didn’t eat it all!

Lunch:

Lunches consisted of my My Typical Salad 5 times, either with hash browns or rice-filled vine leaves. Other than that, I had a Heck vegfurter hotdog (high fibre; made from mushroom, carrot and beetroot) and my highlight, Mum’s cauliflower and almond soup.

Lunch highlights: Left: Homemade cauliflower & almond soup. Right: Heck vegfurter hotdog.

Dinner:

Dinner is generally my favourite meal of the day, as it tends to be more varied. Mine included leftover dhal and rice – I love how a low-cost meal can be so tasty and nutritious. Also, Meatless Farm Co. mince, mashed potato, baby carrots and green beans with gravy. I had an odd combo of leftover mince and baked beans with pasta – simply a lazy dinner. Another hotdog to finish the open pack. I enjoyed a baked potato – half with baked beans, the other with coconut-based cheese and coleslaw, because I couldn’t choose between the two fillings. My highlights were vegetable fajitas (peppers and mushrooms) and a Plant Pioneer burger with low-fat oven chips.

Dinner highlights: Top: Burger (with all the works) & low-fat chips. Bottom: Veg fajitas with guacamole & salsa.

Snacks:

So far, not too bad, other than lack of breakfast fruit. So, let’s assess my snacking… 4 days of morning snacks: grapes, satsumas and mixed nuts. On the day I missed breakfast, cheeky fries leftover from my parents’ dinner. My pre-dinner and evening snacks (5 days each) were small amounts of chocolate (e.g. ¼ of a bar). Saturday night (online pub) I indulged in crisps, including cheesy nachos.

Snack highlights: Left: Cheesy nachos – pre-melted to demonstrate I didn’t overdo the cheese! Right: Hazelnut chocolate desert pot (our weekly veg box ‘surprise’) – I ate it over 2 days.

Alcohol

Alcohol included a double rum and cola on Friday during an online family meet and Saturday’s pre-measured 6 vodkas with a bottle of soda water and fresh lime.

Exercise

My physical activity was a respectable 190 minutes, split between 3 gentle exercise biking sessions and a 70-minute stint on Wii Fit, including yoga, aerobics, muscle and balance exercises. I had a shock when the Wii Fit body analysis reported I’d gained 2 stone and 5 pounds since I’d last used it!

Wii Fit aerobic & balance exercises: It seems I have an inability to move in the right direction, resulting in missing targets, whilst managing to get hit in the head by every flying object – impressive!

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I ‘m pleased to report my 1 lb weight loss this week – yey! I’d expected a gain, because I thought I’d eaten poorly and not moved enough.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I’m so pleased I introduced this section, especially given the challenges this week brought. I’ve enjoyed looking back on and appreciating the positive experiences

Bird Watching:
At the beginning of the week, when it was still sunny, I enjoyed watching the birds at the feeder:

University Friends:
Chatting with my friends Magda and Emelie online on Zoom – last time was early March in person. We met on our MSc Nutrition and Behaviour degree. They both have incredible work ethics – I wish I’d been a bit more like them back when I was in my 20’s!:

Photo from MSc graduation back in 2019 – seems so long ago now!

Studying:
Completing Week 2 of the Future Learn COVID-19 course by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Also, it’s been interesting reading other’s thoughts and I’ve enjoyed sharing my own too. Such a well-run course, I’d highly recommend it:

COVID-19 Week 2 course agenda: The practical implications.

Long Baths with Weleda:
My emotional comfort-blanket: Long (very long!) soaks in the bath with my favourite bath milk, Weleda arnica muscle soak:

New Turtle T-Shirt:
Trying on my new Rapanui WWF t-shirt that helps safeguard turtles – love it! – thanks Mum. Why Rapanui?: “Certified Organic Cotton…Not tested on animals. Does not contain animal-derived products. Printed in the UK with low waste printing tech. Made in a renewable energy powered factory audited for a wide range of social and sustainability criteria”.

Catching Up with Family:
Chatting to Emma (my sister) and Carl (her boyfriend) online – it’s been a while since we’d last spoken:

Emma showing us her worse-for-wear ‘lemon pig’.

Improved Confidence:
Realising how much my confidence and critical-thinking skills have grown over the past 5 years, thanks to the Open University Health Sciences degree. I was pleasantly surprised to receive 57 ‘Likes’ on one of my Future Learn comments. I realise this may not sound like much to some, but it’s the most ‘Likes’ I’ve ever had:

My response to the Educator’s question asking about challenges where resources are limited.

More Online Socialising:
Houseparty with the guys even though they made me do a quiz – I’m asking the questions next week!:

I returned from getting a drink to find myself alone in the House! It was okay – they came back.

Looking back, there were plenty of occasions for me to smile – it’s helpful to document these things.

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 34
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Health Diary Week 31: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The 50 Challenge

Image: mohamed Hassan, Pixabay

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Hey everyone. Thanks so much for joining me. So, let me tell you about my week…

What’s New

…The first half of this week we were cooped-up inside whilst workmen were replacing fascia around the whole house – recent strong winds were detaching the fascia and it was at risk of being thrown onto us or our neighbours. Being stuck inside provided more insight into living with no outside space during lockdown. Pre-lockdown, I was planning to rent a flat in a seaside town – outside space wasn’t a concern as I reasoned I could visit the beach – but now my plans have changed – wherever I end up (if I re-locate even), there needs to be some decent outside space. Anyway, I digress…

Image: Hatice EROL, Pixabay

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…

Diversity and Health:

I’m succeeding in consuming a diverse range of plant-based foods. Back when I was researching my Health Sciences dissertation (‘The effect of diet on age-related alterations in gut microbiota, its effect on gastrointestinal function and resulting impact on human health and disease’), I read somewhere we should aim for 50 different food items per week (sorry, no reference). The idea was this would increase wholefood diversity despite any ‘junk’ food eaten. Thus, increasing our health-promoting gut microbiota numbers and diversity to reduce whole-body inflammation (inflamm-ageing[1]) linked to age-related health conditions (e.g. heart disease, type 2 diabetes)[2, 3].

Cycle of accelerated ageing with progressive nutritional decline & reduced microbiome (microbiota & their genes) diversity. Key: ↑: Increase. ↓: Decrease. LPS: Lipopolysaccharides (increase inflammation). SCFAs: short-chain fatty acids (reduce inflammation). Inflamm-ageing: Systemic (whole body) inflammation with biological ageing. Immunosenescence: Gradual deterioration of the immune system through biological ageing. [Adapted from 2, 4, 5].

After reading about the ‘50 foods challenge’, I was interested how my diet matched up, so I devised a log sheet of my weekly food items – I discovered I was easily reaching 50. I got curious again after completing this week (over 2 years later) – I reached target without separating out the mixed seeds, nuts and salad leaves.

My ‘50 different food items challenge’ for Week 31 – not bad at all.

Snacks and Alcohol:

Clearly, I don’t only consume health-supporting foods – I gave into my chocolate cravings, eating a small amount every day this week. And my other issue is large main meal portion sizes – I’ve always had a big appetite! I had a couple of snacks that could have easily passed as main meals, especially the pasta bowl I made to ward off crisp munchies when drinking rums on Sunday night.

Left: My booze snack (meal): A simple pasta salad with sundried tomato & pepper in mayo to stop me eating crisps after a few drinks. Right: My icy-cold booze bucket.

So, here’s what I ate for my main meals…

Breakfast:

Breakfasts included satsumas, mango, scrambled tofu on toast (twice), Bacon-ish butty/sandwich with ketchup (twice) – once with Quorn smoky ham free slices, the other with ‘This Isn’t Bacon’ (game changer!). I skipped breakfast on Wednesday:

Breakfasts: Top: ‘This Isn’t Bacon’ butty. Bottom: Scrambled tofu on toast.

Lunch:

For lunch I had My Typical Salad (five times), homemade broccoli, leek and potato soup with toast and nothing on Saturday:

Lunches: Top: Homemade broccoli, leek & potato soup. Bottom: Typical salad with Strong Roots courgette hash browns, asparagus, radishes & coleslaw.

Dinner:

My Dinners included Meatless Farm Company mince Mexican-style in tacos, also with a fajita on another day; Waitrose jackfruit burger with Sainsbury’s low-fat oven chips and salad one day and on another, with potatoes, asparagus and peas; a very large portion of Daiya macaroni ‘cheese’ and spaghetti with tomato, peppers and olives (twice).

Dinners: Top: Spaghetti. Mac ‘cheese’. Middle: Tacos. Bottom: Jackfruit burger.

Exercise

Another example of positive action towards health was my physical activity – a respectable 290 minutes (nearly 5 hours): 195 minutes exercise biking, 15 minutes on the trampette (minimal due to sore ankles) and 80 minutes walking. About the walking – I’m really uncomfortable with it. I used to enjoy going for a stroll pre-pandemic. As well as the usual concentrating on not tripping-over or walking into anything (story of my dyspraxic life!), I’m also, ‘staying alert’ for any passing walkers, joggers and cyclists. By the time I get home I’m mentally exhausted and stressed out! I’ll still aim to walk at least once a week, just to stay on top of these new agoraphobic feelings.

Image: iXimus; Fathromi Ramdlon, Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I feel like I should be disappointed about not losing any weight or body fat this week. I gained back 0.6 lb of the 1 lb I’d lost last week. But I didn’t mind; I feel I should mind, but I just didn’t. Additionally, it was a Bank Holiday weekend and indulgence usually occurs – on Sunday we had our online ‘pub-ish’ meet-up and I snacked late into the evening, which would have affected the next morning’s weigh-in. We’ll see what next week brings before I get concerned.

Slipping again

As I’ve said before, I’m in this for the long haul – my whole lifetime! – and these are weird times, so I don’t want to be down on myself when there’s more important concerns. I’m trying to support my overall wellbeing – a key component of this health journey – I can be patient for the weight loss – I’m confident it will happen.

Image: Arek Socha, Pixabay

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Anyways, enough about that; let’s move swiftly on to ‘What Made Watson Smile’it doesn’t actually take much – sometimes learning something new, the beauty of nature or just something a bit silly…

Odd Shoelaces:
No-one noticing (or caring) I went out for our walk wearing odd shoelaces. I’d changed to a pink shoelace back in February for my odd shoes and socks party, but I’ve not re-located the black lace I removed. (I usually undo my laces before taking off my shoes, but I’ve stopped doing that since lockdown to avoid touching my shoes immediately after being outside):

Right: My odd shoelaces. Left: My odd shoes from my Birthday celebrations back in February.

Blooming Roses:
The beautiful roses have bloomed:

The Coleslaw Incident!
Mum and I are clumsy (I have Dyspraxia, Mum probably too). We were preparing food separately in the kitchen – Mum dropped the coleslaw – it landed upside-down, thankfully with little spillage. We started giggling and then I spilt macaroni over the floor trying to open the bag. About half an hour later Mum realised she’d been walking around with a foot smothered in coleslaw – we got the giggles again – it beats getting frustrated with yourself:

Continuing Development:
I attended some nutrition continuing professional development: MyNutriWeb lecture: Immunity Series Part 2 – Gut health & immunity through the lifecourse. A great refresher – health and the gut microbiome were my Dissertation topics for both undergraduate and post graduate degrees:

Noticing the Daily Flora Changes:
Beautiful foxglove-like white flowers appearing around the garden. The bees and ants seem to be particularly attracted to these flowers:

Seeing Bevy’s Face:
Finally seeing Bevy’s face, one of my ‘besties’, online on ‘Zoom’. It was great to chat and I’m looking forward to our next meet-up:

Left: Us during a weekend in Wales, 2012. Right: Us on a day-out in Bournemouth, 2013.

Beautiful Flowers:
These beautiful big pinky-purpley big flowers (clearly I’m no botanist!) started appearing in the garden:

Houseparty Meet-Ups:
The usual online ‘Houseparty’ gang turning up to the Bank Holiday online pub-ish event I’d created. The idea was for our local pub-goers to mingle between online rooms to chat to different groups, much like in the pub. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much interest. We had a fun night regardless and it was good to welcome a new familiar face. Also, I was amused by Chud’s ghostly appearance when he popped outside (top pic, bottom left):

Well that’s all for this week. 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 32>>>
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References

1. Franceschi, C., Bonafe, M., Valensin, S., Olivieri, F., De Luca, M., Ottaviani, E. and De Benedictis, G., (2000). Inflamm-aging – An evolutionary perspective on immunosenescence. Molecular and Cellular Gerontology: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 908, 244-254 [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06651.x.
2. Vaiserman, A. M., Koliada, A. K. and Marotta, F. (2017). Gut microbiota: A player in aging and a target for anti-aging. Ageing Research Reviews, 35, 36-45 [Online]. Available from:  DOI: 10.1016/j.arr.2017.0.001.
3. Claesson, M. J., Jeffery, I. B., Conde, S., Power, S. E., O’Connor, E. M., Cusack, K. S., Harris, H. M. B., Coakley, M., Lakshminaryanan, B., O’Sullivan, O., Fitgerald, G. F., Deane, J., O’Connor, M., Harnedy, N., O’Connor, K., O’Mahony, D., Sinderen, D., Wallace, M., Brennan, L., Stanton, C., Machesi, J. R., Fitgerald, A. P. and Shanahan, F. (2012). Gut microbiota composition relates with diet and health in the elderly. Nature, 488, 178-184 [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1038/nature11319.
4. Jeffery, I. B., Lynch, D., B. and O’Toole, P. W. (2016). Composition and temporal stability of the gut microbiota in older persons. THE ISME Journal, 10 (1), 170-182 [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2015.88.
5. Rampelli, S., Candela, M. T., Turroni, S., Biagi, E., Collino, S., Franceshi, C., O’ Toole, P. and Brigidi, P. (2013). Functional metagenomic profiling of intestinal microbiome in extreme ageing. Aging, 5 (12), 902-912 [Online]. Available from: DOI: 10.18632/aging.100623.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 30: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Did I Follow My Own Advice?

Image: ShonEjai, Pixabay.

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What’s New

I was feeling nervous about stepping onto the scales this week since last week’s expected weight loss was actually a gain. After that disappointment, I’d analysed my diary to pinpoint where my behaviour had slipped and concluded I needed to eat more fruit (instead of non-wholegrain toast) for breakfast, consume minimal raspberry jam (I was forming a jam habit!), reduce the cake snacks, alcohol and crisp/chip intake. Sounds like a lot right?! So, how did that go?…

Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay.

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:

…Well, I’m proud to report 5 of my breakfasts consisted of fruit (apple, nectarine, banana, satsuma, pineapple and mango). I didn’t have raspberry jam at all (go me!).

Lunch:

I ate my My Typical Salad lunches over 4 days; the others were Ugo Thrive pumpkin raviolini with added spinach, tomato, olives and red onion (it was a bigger lunch than necessary), scrambled tofu (I think this was my best version yet) with added mushrooms and grated carrots (needed using) and a tasty BLT (vegan-style) roll.

Lunches. Top left: Raviolini. Top right: Scrambled tofu. Bottom: BLT using Incredible Bakery onion & seed high fibre, low saturated fat roll & Quorn smoky vegan ham free slices.

Dinner:

Dinners were relatively low-processed meals containing a variety of vegetables – I really love veg! – here’s how we incorporated veg into our dinners in a satisfying way:

Tagliatelle with olives, spinach & tomato in a creamy silken tofu & pesto sauce, with griddled asparagus, pepper, aubergine, courgette & butternut squash. I had these leftovers twice (pic from Week 29).
Thai green curry with broccoli, spinach, carrot, sweetcorn, pepper & water chestnuts. Served with wholegrain jasmine rice, red rice & riceberry.
Shawarma kebab with added mushrooms: Served with Sainsbury’s be good to yourself oven chips (less than 3% fat & green traffic-lighted for fat, saturated fat, sugar & salt[2]) & salad of  iceberg lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber and avocado in a garlic mayo dressing.
Simple red lentil pasta with sundried tomato, pepper, black olives (from jars) & red onion.
Homemade soup using veg box leek, broccoli, & potato. I’m not a fan of leeks, so we adapted a recipe to make this tasty soup that didn’t taste overly ‘leekie’.

That’s nearly 20 different veg/salad in my dinners alone, not including the fruit for breakfast/snacks or lunchtime salads! My health-promoting gut microbes should be happy feasting on all that fibre-loaded goodness[3]!

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay.

Snacks:

Snack indulgences included a carrot cake muffin, berries coated in raw chocolate and a hot cacao drink. I ate some post-booze crisps but reduced quantity by ensuring some healthy snacks to hand:

Another success! I prepared for the alcohol-munchies with healthy snacks. Left: Carrot & baby cucumber sticks with hummus. Right: Mango & pineapple. Admittedly, I ate a small bowl of crisps/chips later, but nowhere near as many had I not had the healthier snacks beforehand.

Alcohol

And alcohol? –  Drinkaware[1] calculated I’d consumed 460 calories and nearly 6 units less compared to Week 29.

Week 29 versus Week 30 alcohol units & calories[1]. Note: Week 29 doesn’t include the 105 additional calories from the sodas!

My cunning ‘Houseparty’ alcohol-limitation plan worked! I measured 6 shots from my large vodka bottle to transfer into a smaller one. I paired the vodka with soda water & fresh lime, instead of cola/lemonade. I functioned hangover-free the following day.

Exercise

I increased my physical activity to 350 minutes, compared to 335 minutes last week. The majority was exercise biking (225 minutes), with 60 minutes on the trampette, a 40 minute walk and those Mr Motivator workouts on BBC HealthCheck UK.  

Image: 16061941, Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

So, what did my actions mean for this week’s results? I’m relieved to report I lost 1 lb (0.45 kg) in weight – I was kind of expecting more, but I’ll take it. I hope that I continue to progress in this direction, or at the very least, not gain.

Week 30 results – moving in the right direction again – phew!

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

The positive results conveniently link to ‘What Made Watson Smile’ this week…

Bird Feeder Relocation:
Re-locating the birdfeeder to the pond area by the driveway, providing better birdwatching opportunities – I haven’t captured a decent picture of the birds yet:

Nutrition and the Immune System Webinar:
The informative part 1 Immunity Series lecture by Dr Childs (University of Southampton) via MyNutriWeb. This week’s lecture was Nutrition & the Immune System in Health & Disease. Of particular interest – the role of vitamin D & the omega 3 end-products, EPA & DHA, in a healthy immune response:

New Flowers:
Noticing the new flower additions to the garden:

Houseparty:
An excuse to dress-up! Seeing faces (Jo’s & Matt’s) I hadn’t seen in ages (apologies for the terrible screen photo – it’s the only one I managed to capture with the camera I’m currently using instead of my broken phone).

Future Learn Course Completed:
Completing the Future Learn course ‘Superfoods: Myths & Truths’. The truth? – I’m confident to continue NOT using the term ‘superfood’ & instead advocate for a wholefood plant-based diet for supporting health.

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 31>>>
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References

1. Drinkaware, 2019. Unit & Calorie Calculator [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator.
2. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
3. Angie Jefferson, 2020. Give your friendly gut bacteria a helping hand. British Dietetic Association [online]. Available from: www.bda.uk.com/resource/give-your-friendly-gut-bacteria-a-helping-hand.html.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 27: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Return of the Appetite!

Image: Scym, 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…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

So, it makes sense to start with my week’s results – I was incredibly relieved not to gain yet more weight – I’d suspected it would rise considering my current appetite. I was pleased to discover that although there was no weight change, my body fat reduced by 0.4%.

Week 27 results: Some fat reduction at least.

Exercise

I can probably thank the increase in physical activity for keeping my weight in check and reducing body fat, because I ate a lot! I completed a total of four hours on my exercise bike, tagging on 15 minutes jogging on the trampette to the end of a session. I’d like to increase use of the trampette as energy levels increase.

Keeping physical activity simple. Left: Me pre- exercise biking. Right: Me after jogging on the trampette.

Alcohol

I had alcohol at Saturday night’s online ‘Houseparty’ – a Tesco frozen strawberry daiquiri sorbet, followed by four vodkas with two cans of diet cola, consequently leading to Sunday’s post-drinking crisp intake.

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…

Snacks:

I  snacked between meals quite a bit, including finishing off the meringues (pic in Week 26) and gradually working my way through Booja Booja chocolate truffles. Despite this, I also chose some healthier options, including fruit, hummus with rice crackers and Itsu crispy seaweed thins (so more-ish!):

Some snacks: Clockwise: Booja Booja chocolate truffles. Mango – I ate ½ before remembering to take a photo! Wholegrain pitta with red pepper hummus. Mixed unsalted nuts.

Breakfast:

I’ve had heartier breakfasts than my usual fruit. Sometimes I started with an apple or satsumas, but then followed it with a pitta with hummus or a ‘bacon-ish’ sandwich using pan-fried (no oil) Quorn smoky vegan ham free slices.

Breakfasts: Left: wholegrain pitta with red pepper hummus (alfresco). Right: Bacon-ish sandwich.

Lunch:

Lunches were usually a version of My Typical Salad, either with rice-filled vine leaves, falafel or Strong Roots hash browns. One day we were low on salad, so made a simple, incredibly tasty Mexican rice salad using Tilda Mexican rice, adding refried beans (we didn’t have black beans), sweetcorn, tomato, avocado and red onion. We served the rice with nachos and a delicious Plant Pioneer burger. Sunday was a ‘snacky’ day, after Saturday’s late night socialising – I had two Mexican bean bites, followed by M&S spring rolls with sweet chilli jam, almond-filled olives,  a gherkin and pickled onions with Applewood vegan cheese.

Lunches: Clockwise: Typical salad with rice-stuffed vine leaves. Snacky lunch plate. Typical salad with falafel. Mexican rice salad with nachos & Plant Pioneer burger.

Dinner:

So, what were my dinners? I’ll show you…

Twice I had spaghetti bolognese with added Mr Organic lentils, topped with some ‘nooch’ -inactivated yeast, providing a slightly nutty, cheesy taste:

I made a Heck Vegfurter hot dog with added fried onion, tomato and gherkin in a BFree seeded baguette – delicious and high fibre[1] – 14.4g for the sausage and baguette, nearly ½ the recommended adult daily intake of 30g/day[2]:

We indulged in pastry, sharing a Clive’s Mexican chilli pie and tomato and olive tart with roasted butternut squash, carrot and stir-fried green cabbage, leek, broccoli and courgette. However, the pie sneaked into the high category for saturated fat – over 5.0g per 100g (see red underlining), but halving it made it an acceptable portion[3]:

A comforting meal of a jacket potato with Mr Organic baked beans and Applewood vegan cheese sprinkle. Accompanied by Linda McCartney red onion sausages, which weren’t necessary, as the meal was filling enough without them:

Whole Creations Pizza: On first glance this pizza seems okay for fat, saturated fat, free sugars and salt – all within the acceptable range per 100g (orange underlining). BUT, I ate the whole pizza in one sitting resulting in all, except free sugars, being classed as high[3] (red underlining). Next time I should ½ it and serve with salad or veg:

My highlight: Simple, delicious and nutritious pasta salad: Spinach, tomato, black olives, sweetcorn and red onion mixed with some mayo and hot chilli sauce (love chilli!).

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Okay, time for this week’s instalment of ‘What Made Watson Smile’…

Driveway Tranquility:
Loving the tranquility on the driveway during lockdown, including the tuneful birdsong and vibrant lilac wisteria. Also, the joy of spotting real-life humans on the pathway across the pond during their daily exercise (although I fear for their physical distancing if others are coming from the opposite direction):

Webinars:
Continuing professional development webinar advising that the more plant-based a diet, the better the health outcomes and reduced environmental impact:

Satsumas:
Realising that satsumas no longer result in acne breakouts – I’d been too scared to eat them for years, but figured I’d give them a go whilst in lockdown due to lack of socialising. I’d forgotten how delicious they are:

Exercise Bike Progress:
On Sunday, I was pleased to move back up to the highest tension on the exercise bike.

Starting a New Course:
Completing the first week of ‘Superfoods: Myths & Truths’ on FutureLearn. Disclaimer: I personally don’t like/use the term ‘superfoods’, as I believe it’s important to eat a diverse range of plant foods for health. Also, it potentially places pressure on specific items when alternatives could be sourced more accessibly (e.g. cost, mileage):

Online Delivery and My Hummus Survived:
And, the massive relief that my hummus survived being packed under a load of cans & also feeling grateful for getting an online delivery slot:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-size journey updates on Instagram: www.instagram.com/whatsonwatsonsplate/.

Week 28>>>
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References

1. European Commission, Ca. 2019. Nutrition claims [online]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/nutrition_claims_en.
2. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, 2015. SACN Press release: Expert nutritionists recommend halving sugar in diet [online]. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/446188/SACN_Carbohydrates_Press_Release_July_2015.PDF.
3. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.

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Health Diary Week 26: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

I Will Not Give Up!

Image: diema, Pixabay

<<<Week 25
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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…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I can’t believe I’m 6 months into blogging about my health diary! I wish I could mark this landmark with impressive news about my weight loss, instead I gained 0.4 lb this week, taking me to 166.4 lb (75.5 kg). Although it’s just a creeping rise, I need to get it under control like now!:

Week 26 results – uh oh!

Food and Nutrition

It’s no mystery where I went wrong – I’ve felt constantly hungry and craved fat and sugar since recovering from a virus – Probably ‘That’ Coronavirus. Sometimes I wish I didn’t love food quite so much, but it seems I always have, as evidenced below:

Me aged 2, clearly enjoying my food in a snazzy 70’s tracksuit!

What Went Wrong? – Snacks and Alcohol:

So, on Monday I not only had a carrot cake muffin for breakfast (instead of fruit), but another later as a snack, along with the last Mummy Meagz ‘creme egg’. On Tuesday I had a muffin again for breakfast and a hot cacao drink in the evening. On Wednesday I ate two Booja Booja chocolate truffles and drank hot cacao. Thursday saw more chocolate, this time Raw Chocolate Co goji berries. Yet more chocolate on Friday with gojis, but also meringues (egg free!). This was topped off on Friday with excess vodka, moving on to rum when I ran out – when will I learn? Also, I ate coconut-based cheese, including a cheesy garlic pitta as an evening snack and nachos twice at the weekend:

Meringues made using the liquid leftover from a tin of chickpeas instead of egg whites – you can’t tell the difference!

Breakfast:

But, it wasn’t all bad – I had fruit for breakfast Wednesday through to Sunday, including, pineapple, satsumas and apples.

Some breakfast fruit: Pineapple, apple, satsuma – yum!

Lunch:

I had my My Typical Salad four times for lunch, baked beans on toast twice and a ‘bacon-ish’ sandwich by dry pan-frying some Quorn ‘ham’ slices.

Some lunches: Dolmathes, aubergine, steamed potatoes & beetroot, homemade coleslaw, mixed salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, red onion, celery & avocado. Baked beans on toast. Bacon-ish sandwich.

Dinner:

Monday’s dinner was a sausage, roast potatoes, stuffing and loads of veg – Brussel sprouts with chestnuts, peas, sweetcorn, carrot, courgette and white cabbage (similar to Week 25). On Tuesday and Thursday, I ate Ugo pumpkin and sage raviolini and fusilli pasta, once with a few leftover oven chips and the other day a cheesy garlic pitta. We tried delicious Waitrose jackfruit burgers on Wednesday with oven chips and salad. I’ve just realised I had oven chips three times this week, including on Saturday – that’s a bit excessive! Friday and Sunday’s dinners were chickpea and spinach curry, lentil dhal and brown rice.

Some dinners: Chickpea & spinach curry, red lentil dhal & brown rice. Waitrose jackfruit burger with oven chips & salad. Ugo pumpkin & sage raviolini & fusilli pasta with sundried tomato, black olives & drizzle of extra virgin olive oil & hot chilli sauce with cheesy garlic pitta.

Exercise

Although I’m a long way off my pre-virus physical activity levels, I’m happy to report I was active on three days, totalling one hour on the exercise bike and 45 minutes jogging in the garden on my trampette.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Okay, time for the next instalment of what made me smile this week…

Garden decorations:
Plenty of interesting things to look at in the garden:

Friendly Blackbird:
This bird that frequents the garden, often venturing very close to me:

Cunning Alcohol Plan:
My cunning plan to use a wine bucket and ice blocks to keep my Friday night drinks cold. Also, notice the spirit measurer I proudly and diligently used until I became too tipsy to care – good intentions!:

Houseparty (Online) with Friends:
The Friday night ‘pub’ Houseparty – at some point we decided to upgrade to a hats party! Here I’m finding something very funny!:

Face Friend:
On Saturday I couldn’t help but notice Michael Ball’s ‘face friend’ on his ceiling – heehee!:

One World Together:
And lastly, Sunday was the One World Together at Home concert – a heart-warming idea to show love to all our key workers. I was extra happy that Billie Joe from Green Day played:

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 27>>>
<<<Week 25
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Health Diary Week 25: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Loving Nature… and Food!

Image: John Hain, Pixabay

“Nature is revolting to reclaim her kingdom. If now we don’t make peace with her what’s the point of us!” Abhijit Naskar, Neuroscientist, advocate of mental wellness and global harmony, Good Reads.

<<<Week 24
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Hi everyone. Hope you’re doing okay. Welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I’m going to get through the weigh-in results quickly – I gained a little more weight (0.2 lb) – oops! I blame the Easter weekend and most definitely myself, but I don’t feel particularly upset – yes, it’s a minor setback, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a disaster and I’m working to get back on track.

Week 25 results – it’s all going the wrong way!

Exercise

I’ve started by re-introducing physical activity since being unwell – I completed two exercise bike sessions on a medium tension at the end of the week, lasting 20 and 30 minutes – progress.

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…

Alcohol and Snacks

So, I over indulged again with chocolatey snacks and a bottle of La Selva Organic Vermentino low sulphite white wine. Chocolate included Mummy Meagz ‘creme egg’, two Booja Booja chocolate truffles, Onist (avocado) salted caramel cocoa pot (really delicious!) and Nak’d double chocolish bar. Also, Mum made carrot cake muffins on Saturday and I had one (sometimes two) a day over the weekend – they were tasty!

A taster of my week’s indulgences. Clockwise: Mummy Meagz ‘creme egg’. Onist (avocado) salted caramel cocoa pot. Nak’d double chocolish bar. La Selva Organic Vermentino white wine. Carrot cake muffin (1 of many!).

Breakfast:

Breakfasts included fruit (strawberries & blueberries, satsuma, apple), Nature’s Path maple sunrise multigrain cereal, hummus with BFree wholegrain pitta and homemade carrot cake muffins (we’ve got a good stock of carrots as they’re long-lasting):

Some of my breakfasts. Clockwise: Blueberries & strawberries. Apple. Carrot cake muffin. Hummus & BFree wholegrain pitta. Nature’s Path maple sunrise multigrain cereal.

Lunch:

It was warm and sunny, so we were able to eat lunch outside most days. I had My Typical Salad (ish) six times with either dolmathes (rice stuffed vine leaves), Strong Roots hash browns, or frittata (potato, mixed mushrooms and green cabbage) using a chickpea flour and water base instead of eggs (I love this!). Another time, I had a vegetable fajita with salsa, leftover from the previous week’s dinner:

Some of my salad lunches ‘al fresco’. Clockwise: Potato, mixed mushrooms & green cabbage chickpea-base frittata with iceberg lettuce, grated carrot & red pepper in a little mayo. Strong Roots hash browns. Dolmathes & a simple homemade coleslaw (white cabbage & carrot in mayo).

Dinner:

Dinners included leftover veg curry, red lentil dhal and brown rice (photo in Week 24). A couple of times we had Meatless Farm Co. mince bolognaise with Doves brown rice spaghetti. We’d received mixed mushrooms and green cabbage in our Abel and Cole veg box delivery, which we incorporated into several meals (including the above lunch frittata). We also had it pan fried with a Meatless Farm Co. burger and roast potatoes. It was added into a Veg Risotto that also contained peas, courgette and spinach. We stretched the risotto into the next dinner by adding Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages and roasted cauliflower. Sunday ‘roast’ was a sausage, stuffing, roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts with chestnuts, carrot and courgette with gravy.

Some of my dinners. Clockwise: Meatless Farm Co. burger with roast potatoes, mixed mushrooms & green cabbage. Veg risotto with Linda McCartney sausages & roasted cauliflower. Linda McCartney sausages, roast potatoes & veg. Meatless Farm Co. spaghetti bolognaise.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

So, moving on to things (other than food) that made me smile…

The ‘Super Moon’:
I attempted to capture the Super Moon from outside & my bedroom window:

Veg Box Delivery:
The excitement of receiving our weekly veg box (with a few extras):

Garden time:
Tree blossom & flowers:

Completing the COVID-19 Course:
My course completion certificate: ‘COVID-19: Tackling the novel coronavirus’, run by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine & UK Public Health Rapid Support Team:

Feeling Social:
Feeling and looking healthier again and fun socialising online:

NHS Volunteer Responder:
Receiving an email accepting my application to be an NHS Responder Volunteer as a ‘Check in and Chat Volunteer’:

‘Cafe Driveway: Pond View’:
The highlight – fondly known as ‘Cafe Driveway: Pond View’. We set up a garden table & chairs on the driveway to enjoy the morning sun. The bonus is the public pond enabling us to nature watch – can you spot the duck?:

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 26>>>
<<<Week 24
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Health Diary Week 20: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

A Mountain of Olives!

Image: olafpictures, Pixabay

<<<Week 19
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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…

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…

Snacks:

I’ve had a week of craving crisps (chips) and chocolate – possibly because I knew they were in the house (from my birthday) – all gone now though! So, I could have tried to resist them and then potentially binged. Instead, I portioned crisps into a small bowl each time to see how much I was eating and avoid mindlessly grabbing repeatedly from a sharer bag. And, with the chocolate, I just ate a piece or 2 when I really wanted some.

Breakfast:

I had fruit for breakfast four times. Once I had a second breakfast of beans on a slice of toast, simply because I got hungry again. When I was rushing for the bus I had a Nakd blueberry muffin fruit and nut bar – it curbed my hunger, but was very high sugar. My favourite breakfast was the best scrambled tofu I’ve ever made (also eaten for lunch and dinner on other days). I hope I can re-create it as I didn’t follow a recipe – I used Clearspot firm and Clearspring silken tofu, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, turmeric, Naturli spread and Engevita yeast flakes:

Breakfasts. Clockwise: Fruit salad. Scrambled tofu on BFree wholegrain seeded toast. Baked beans on toast.

Lunch:

Lunches included My Typical Salad three times, Vivera plant Shawarma kebab with mixed salad. I added mushrooms to the Shawarma and prepared according to my recipe plus olives in the salad (lots of olives in recent meals – the ones I forgot to share at my birthday buffet!). After catching up with a Uni friend from 20+ years ago, I treated myself to a Cafe Thrive wholefood burger and resisted adding fries – go me! On Sunday I had a snacky lunch consisting of Schar corn & Amisa quinoa crispbreads with Quorn vegan smoky ‘ham’ slices,  M&S reduced fat red pepper hummus, M&S spring rolls with chilli jam, pickled onions, cornichons and unsalted mixed nuts:

Lunches: Clockwise: Shawarma kebab with mixed salad. Cafe Thrive wholefood lentil burger (I’d already bitten into). My typical salad with sauerkraut. Sunday’s snacky lunch.

Dinner:

For dinner (three times!) I had Dove’s brown rice spaghetti with tomatoes, mushrooms, courgette, olives (those olives again!) and spinach. Another tasty pasta dinner was Ugo pumpkin and sage raviolini with olives (no surprise there!), black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I had a tasty convenience meal: Kirsty’s Malaysian butternut squash curry with brown basmati rice – it’s fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content were all green traffic lighted, so I’d definitely have it again. I had a slightly odd dinner mid-week of wholegrain pitta bread with Leon pea-lentilful dip (the whole tub, because it needed using up like yesterday!) and three M&S vegetable spring rolls:

Dinners: Left to right: Ugo pumpkin & sage raviolini with olives. Kirsty’s Malaysian butternut squash curry with brown basmati rice. Dove’s brown rice spaghetti with veggies.

Alcohol

At the weekend I had an evening down the pub with friends, where I consumed 3 vodkas with soda water and 1 rum with cola – I drank slowly, resulting in having far fewer than I would have in the past. This changed behaviour meant that I had a more fun memorable evening, much better night’s sleep, woke up without a hangover and had a reasonably productive day – win win!

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

Exercise

Another positive – I’m gradually building my exercise intensity back up after recovering from a cold virus and that gluten incident. This week I totalled 226 minutes (3 hours 46 minutes) moderate-vigorous physical activity, including 60 minutes of circuits, 110 minutes on the exercise bike and 56 minutes brisk walking (96 minutes total walking):

Signs of Spring – tree blossom & daffodils on one of my walks

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Clearly, I did not go hungry! – regardless, I still lost 1.0 lb (0.5 kg) – I was relieved, as my weight had stayed the same all week, until Sunday when it finally dropped and stayed there:

Week 20 results – I’m happy with that 😊

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Overall, it’s been a happy social week connecting with friends, past and present, in person and online. Here’s looking forward to another positive week (for us all)…

This apt quote was in my Booja Booja chocolate gift box – my favourite chocolates!

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 21>>>
<<<Week 19
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Health Diary Week 18: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Fruit-ilicious!

Image: Michi-Nordlicht, Pixabay

<<<Week 17
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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 was another unfortunate week fighting off a Winter cold virus. I should add that this week has been my worst for sleep since starting this journey and there are now dark circles under my eyes (see final picture).

Exercise

My cold virus resulted in minimal physical activity: one hour circuits, one hour exercise bike and just 14 minutes brisk walking.

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 consisted of fruit over five days, with the other two being skipped due to getting up late:

Breakfasts: Left: Fruit salad containing mango, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries & blueberries. Right: Papaya with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Lunch:

Lunches involved BFree wholegrain pitta four times, twice filled with Quorn slices and salad; twice dipped into Sainsbury’s reduced fat red pepper hummus. I enjoyed the Asda fiery chilli noodle pot that was under 300 calories. It was green traffic-lighted (low) in fats, saturated fat and sugar, although red traffic-lighted (high) in salt[1]. I only had my My Typical Salad once. There was a vegan social this weekend, where 20+ of us met for lunch at the Art House – an independent community cafe that desperately needs support to remain open – they have a fundraiser page if anyone is able to help:

Lunches: Clockwise: Typical salad. Asda fiery chilli noodle pot. Art House cafe mushrooms (stroganoff-style) with dumpling & veg. Wholegrain pitta filled with Quorn slices, mixed salad & salad cream.

Dinner:

Dinners included some homemade meals: Twice, I had mixed bean chilli with brown rice, once with guacamole, salsa and garlic bread. For two evenings I ate vegetable fajitas with avocado, salsa and lettuce.  I had a light dinner following the lunch at the Art House, opting for a beetroot, coleslaw and mixed salad leaves sandwich using BFree brown seeded bread. These meals were all good sources of health-promoting fibre, important for long-term health[2]:

Homemade dinners. Left: Mixed bean chilli, brown rice, guacamole, salsa & garlic bread. Right: Vegetable fajita (jackfruit, peppers, mushroom & onion) with avocado, salsa & mixed salad leaves.

My convenience meals were both Amy’s Kitchen options: vegetable lasagne with Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself oven chips and salad; the other, rice mac and cheeze. Both the Amy’s Kitchen meals were green traffic-lighted (low) for sugars (under 5.0g per 100g) and amber (medium/okay) for fat (3.0-17.5g per 100g), saturated fat (1.5-5.0g per 100g) and salt (0.3-1.5g per 100g)[1]:

Convenience Amy’s Kitchen dinners. Right: Lasagne, chips & salad. Left: Macaroni cheese (ultimate comfort food).

Snacks:

I didn’t snack as much as usual – I only craved/had chocolate on four days – it’s usually a daily occurrence! We had a ‘Girls’ 80’s movies night in’, with lots of snacks, although fairly sensible options: cucumber and carrot sticks, Eat Real chips, hummus, potatoes with aioli, garlic olives, grapes, raspberry cashew bites, Deliciously Ella caramel cups (admittedly these were high in fat, saturates and sugars, but I only had one) and breakfast biscuits (I ate two of the three in the pack).

The ‘Girls’ 80’s movies night in’ snack feast. Clockwise: Hummus & quinoa chips, roast potatoes with aioli, grapes, raspberry cashew bites & caramel cups, breakfast biscuits, hummus dips, garlic marinated olives & cucumber & carrot veg sticks.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I was very happy to discover that I’d lost weight (1 lb) and fat (0.4%) this week, especially considering my lack of exercise. It’s a relief to know progress can still be made with limited physical activity:

Week 18 Results – yes!

What’s more, I’ve now lost 5% of my starting body weight, reducing my risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers[3, 4]. Also, importantly for my hypermobility[5], this loss reduces risk of joint issues[3]. My next aim is to reach a 10% body weight loss (17.5 lb) – I’m keeping my aims ‘SMART’ to increase likelihood of success:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Image: gabrielle_cc, Pixabay

I’ll fore-warn you, it’s my birthday next week and my celebrations may result in a small backwards step, but I’m okay with that – I’ll get straight back on track again. And, I intend to feel well again next week – positive thinking and all that!…

My much-loved ‘straws suck’ Plastic Oceans top from Rapanui that I wore to this week’s social.

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 19>>>
<<<Week 17
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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. National Health Service (NHS) 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 (NHS), 2018. What are the health benefits of losing weight? [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-losing-weight/.
4. The Obesity Action Coalition, 2013. Benefits of 5-10 Percent Weight-loss [online]. Available from: www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/benefits-of-5-10-percent-weight-loss/.
5. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes? [online]. Available from: www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 17: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

‘Gluten-ed’!

Image: Prawny, Pixabay

<<<Week 16
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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 had an unfortunate accidental gluten-eating incident on the last day of Week 16 causing my intolerance to manifest with gut bloating and discomfort for a few days[1]. However, the associated fatigue seems to have lasted longer, potentially attributing to this week’s major lack of energy and motivation:

Gluten belly (9 Feb) versus usual belly (16 Feb)!

Exercise

My physical activity levels were the lowest since starting this journey, with 1 hour at circuits, 1 hr 45 minutes on the exercise bike and only 4 minutes brisk walking (28 minutes total walking). I don’t feel guilty though – I really felt like I needed to rest, so I listened to my body:

Image: Wokandapix, Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Unsurprisingly, I experienced a weight gain; thankfully just 0.6 lb. Interestingly, my current daily weighing experiment revealed that my weight had stayed the same most of the week – it increased on Sunday ready for Monday’s weigh in – nice!:

Week 17 results (pleasantly surprised that I lost some fat)

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…

Let’s start with what happened on Saturday/Sunday that caused this weight gain. Here’s an extract from my diary record…

Week 17 Saturday & Sunday behaviour: Red text: potential pitfalls of excess calories, saturated fat &/or sugars attributing to the weight gain.

Alcohol:

… Well, Saturday evening I drank alcohol for the first time in 45 days. I had four doubles of Hotel Chocolat salted caramel vodka liqueur (it tasted so good!), which added at least 400 calories intake[2]. This was followed by hunger and lack of willpower, so that late at night I ate flavoured popcorn, a hotdog and the leftover pasta. Here the problem wasn’t so much what I ate, but how much I ate – effectively two dinners and then some!

Left: 45 days straight with no alcohol! (I’m quite impressed with myself). Right: The one day this month so far where I’ve consumed alcohol.

Snacks:

Other than Saturday night, my eating was relatively okay. Admittedly, the snacks were potential pitfalls of high sugar and fat. Although, sticking to my chocolate-coated goji berries and my hot cacao drink meant smaller chocolate quantities were consumed, because the cravings were satisfied quickly. The Proper Corn flavoured popcorn was high in total fat (increasing calories), but low in harmful saturated fat[3] and high in health-promoting fibre[4, 5]:

Proper Corn popcorn snack. This flavour was high fat (red line), but low saturated fat (green line) & high fibre (purple line).

Breakfast:

The remainder of my week? There were four unintentional missed breakfasts due to sleeping in later than usual.

Lunch:

Lunches were either pittas filled with Quorn slices and salad, or My Typical Salad, with the exception of the amazing vegan brunch at Offbeet Wickham that was similar to my favourite meal pre-vegan! It consisted of ‘egg’, ‘smoked salmon’ and ‘ricotta cheese’ on seeded gluten-free toast with ‘hollandaise sauce’ – it was magical!:

My delicious vegan brunch at Offbeet! My non-vegan (though mainly plant-based) Mum said it tasted just like egg & smoked salmon.

Dinner:

My favourite dinner was the batch-cooked Veg-Loaded Risotto that I happily ate for dinner three days in a row:

Veg-loaded risotto – yum! No extra fat added – it was great as it was.

Plan: Be Prepared

So, it seems that my downfall this week was in part the lack of physical activity, but more importantly, excess calories consumed through alcohol and late-night snacking. Therefore, I need to be prepared if I know I’m going to drink by:

1. Being mindful of how many calories I’m consuming during the day prior to drinking; and

2. Plan easy and healthy snacks to reach for when I get alcohol-munchies.

So, with that in mind, let’s see what the next week brings. In the meantime, wishing you all a successful week 😊

Image: My friend Marjory’s daughter embroidered this for her – the quote was from a gift I gave Marjory when I left my job as a University Disability Adviser to re-train in nutrition

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 18>>>
<<<Week 16
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References

1. National Health Service (NHS), 2019. Food intolerance [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/food-intolerance/.
2. Alcohol Change UK, Ca. 2019. Alcohol and calories [online]. Available from: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-and-calories.
3. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
4. European Commission, Ca. 2019. Nutrition claims [online]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/nutrition_claims_en.
5. National Health Service (NHS) 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/.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

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

Christmas Week Indulgences

Image: Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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<<<Week 9

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.

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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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