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

I Spy with My Little Eye…

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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

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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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
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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

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<<<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
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More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

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

Radish Anyone?

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<<<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

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<<<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
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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. 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.

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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.

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