Health Diary Week 87: Lots Happening

Image: Owl at Hawk Conservancy Trust, 2012 (I was quite proud of this action shot)

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Week 86

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences. There’s so much to tell, but so little available time – I’ll do my best to be informative, yet succinct…

New Job?

The feedback from my Staff Wellbeing Hub Admin interview was that I was a strong candidate… But I was their second choice. They were concerned about my work-life balance, because of my interests outside of work – Ironically, I’d started adding my outside interests into admin job interviews to demonstrate that my mind would still be challenged outside of work. This was to counteract the other concern that always comes up when I apply for admin – “Would the job satisfy me when I appear to be better suited to an advisory role?” I honestly enjoy admin; I also enjoy advisory work too. I’d like to do both.

Excitingly, I was offered two days a week, because their first choice wanted to work three days, so I gratefully accepted. The bonus is that this still leaves the possibility of doing some advisory work too… Or perhaps a Health and Wellbeing Coach? – there’s currently adverts for this role within the NHS.

Image: Me listening to a student (well, posing for a promotional photo) at our work enquiry desk. Ca. 2003 (I look so young!)

The Histamine Saga

Here are the latest updates on my challenge to find out more about my histamine issues…

Allergy Clinic:

Last week the Allergy Clinic changed my appointment to a phone one – I reasoned maybe it was because the first appointment is just a consultation. But this week, the clinic rejected my referral – Nooo!  I phoned to check if this was an error… it wasn’t. They’ve recommended I’m referred to an ENT Clinic – I’m confused – I don’t think I need my ears, nose or throat checked out?

Food Risks:

We had family visiting for my Dad’s birthday, so I took some small food risks, with the support of my DAO enzyme tablet. Mum had prepared a curry for dinner – I had the dhal (lentils), potato and peas from the curry (tomato based), poppadom (chickpea) and Nita’s Mum’s coriander chutney (chilli, cashews). Thankfully, there were no ill effects from rhinitis, but I had a slightly sore (burned feeling) tongue for about a week – probably from the chilli, maybe also the tomato:

Image: My histamine food risk dinner: Lentils (dhal), potato and peas from the curry (tomato base), popadom (chickpea). Nita’s Mum’s green chutney not pictured

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I love identifying things that make me smile. Here’s a few things from this past week…

I had pudding:

Mum made rhubarb crumble for Dad’s birthday treat, instead of a cake. I rarely get to have a proper pudding, because of my histamine issues. I decided since I’d already had my DAO enzyme tablet, this was my opportunity. And of course I drowned my crumble in the vanilla custard freebie gifted by the Vegan Kind Supermarket (Week 81) – delicious:

Image: Left: Coconut Collaborative vanilla custard freebie from the Vegan Kind supermarket. Right: Pudding: Rhubarb crumble drowning in vanilla custard

A gift from work:

I was just leaving work when one of the Admin Shift Leads asked, “Would you like a brown bag?”. I assumed this could only be a good thing, so I said, “That would be lovely, thank you”. And within my brown bag were two rhubarb and pineneedle drinks and a box of chocolate (my Dad’s favourite). What a lovely gesture. I passed on the chocolate to my parents and saved the drinks for myself:

Image: My brown bag contents: Monty Bojangles chocolate and Double Dutch drinks

Another friend reunion:

When I was studying for my Nutrition degree, my two main buddies were Magda and Emelie. Emelie has since moved back to Sweden, although we’re still in regular contact. Magda doesn’t live too far away, so we arranged to meet up in person for the first time since the pandemic started. We decided to have a walk in a country park and wow, we had so much to tell each other – it was so lovely to see Magda in person rather than online. The walk was picturesque – a change from my usual roadside walks. And my Active10 app reported I’d completed 168 minutes total walking, of which 88 minutes was brisk – go me:

Image: Countrypark walk – river view (it was a pity about the fallen tree, but a beautiful view nonetheless)
Image: Countrypark walk – field view

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 week for another catch up.

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Health Diary Week 79: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Sunny Spring

Beautiful blossom and blue sky on one of my walks

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<<<Week 78

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

Covid Adminstrator shifts – yay!

I was concerned that I hadn’t heard back about starting my role as “Covid Administrator” despite chasing it up. So, I was talking to my parents about how I was going to consider other NHS temp bank positions, when I received a phone call to obtain my availability for shifts at the vaccine centre – how exciting! I’m going to work three days per week for now, starting next week (at time of writing, this week!). I’ll let you know how it goes in my next post.

Histamine update

It was a rough week with the histamine issues. I suspect the high tree pollen count contributed to the problem. The symptoms (cold-like) gradually worsened throughout the week and by Thursday (after my morning walk) I was completely floored for the rest of the day. I’m worried about how I will cope at work if I can’t control these symptoms. How can I possibly not appear scarily germy and manage to wear a mask all day?

So, I completed another e-Consult Doctor’s form requesting referral to an Immunology Clinic and asking if I could try mast cell stabilisers (to calm down the cells that release histamine) – I’ve started wondering whether my issue is more to do with over-active mast cells, rather than a histamine intolerance (a problem with the enzymes that break down histamine). I need professional medical help to figure this out. In the meantime, I’m being extra careful again about minimising histamine food risks:

Some of my low histamine meals this week. Clockwise: Pasta salad. Veg and seed rice. Veg and seed noodles. Fennel steaks with homemade chips and notomato sauce

Exercise: Walking rewards

I was really pleased with myself for going out walking every day this week, despite feeling unwell. “Active 10” recognised my efforts and gave me three rewards this week: “1,000 Club” for reaching over 1,000 minutes brisk walking since I first downloaded the app, “High Five” for five out of seven days brisk walking (I achieved seven days) and “Perfect Week” for hitting my brisk walking target everyday – go me! But, I still gained a pound (0.45 kg) in weight – it doesn’t seem fair:

My Active 10 rewards and week’s walking record. Clockwise: Perfect Week. High Five. My week’s walks. 1,000 Club

Food creation: Baked oats

I had to give the baked porridge oats another try (details here), of course with a few improvements. This time I added blueberries, as well as the fresh apple and black cherry jam (I’d also meant to add quinoa flakes, but completely forgot!). And, after baking I added a drizzle of macadamia nut butter – absolutely delicious!:

Food creation: Baked oats with blueberry, apple, black cherry jam and a macadamia nut butter drizzle

Food creation: Egg-free ‘omelette’

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of my ‘omelettes’ for lunch, so I decided it was about time I made one again. (Okay, so this wasn’t actually an omelette, but I don’t know what else to call it, so ‘omelette’ will have to suffice for now). The base was a mix of cornmeal and quinoa flakes, whilst the filling was yellow pepper, courgette/zucchini and seeds. I got a bit carried away with the seed topping! I had three portions leftover to freeze – bonus. The omelette accompanied my usual salad (I need to write a post sometime about my new typical salad since being on a low histamine diet):

My egg-free ‘omelette’ creation, accompanied by my new typical salad

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

It’s been a good week, if we ignore the histamine issues. We had glorious sunshine culminating in lots of outside time, including socialising with friends…

Socials and a kitten:

My social week included a lovely online catch up with Marjory, whilst I was sat outside bird watching and enjoying the sunshine. Also, I visited Tina and Ben and enjoyed a chat in their sunny garden spot – so nice to see friends in real life. And, I walked up to Bevy and Harry’s to meet Loki, their new, adorable Maine Coon kitten (and socialise with Bevy, and Harry of course):

Kitten cuteness. Top right: Loki, the Maine Coon, when he first arrived home. Other pics: Loki now. Awww – cute, cute, cute!

Dragonfly visitor:

A dragonfly landed on me while I was quietly sat reading in the garden. I love dragonflies:

Dragonfly. Image: Tanuj Handa, Pixabay

Cactus corner:

I was admiring the new cactus corner in the conservatory, when I noticed that my real-life cactus plant was flowering – I’ve had that cactus for years – it’s the only one that survived from a set of four. I was also impressed by Mum’s latest ‘repair shop’ work on my fake cacti – I wish there was a before-and-after photo, because Mum did such a good job of livening them back up with a bit of skilful painting and adding decorative flowers:

Cactus corner. My real-life flowering cactus and Mum’s cacti repair work

The case of mistaken identity:

I finally realised that my neighbour’s cat, “Not Molly” is in fact “Molly”. I was concerned that Molly was no longer coming to visit, and her elusive brother was visiting instead. But when I was discussing this with my parents, my Dad, said “Are you sure this isn’t Molly?”. I was convinced it wasn’t Molly, because this one had a moustache. But then I looked back through my photos and realised Molly did indeed have a moustache and was clearly the same cat – how could I not have noticed the moustache before? I felt so silly, but also relieved Molly is okay:

Cat confusion:“Not Molly” is “Molly”

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 week for another catch up.

>>>Week 80
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Health Diary Week 78: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Just a Quickie

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

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<<<Week 77

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

It’s been a fairly quiet week overall and I’ve been struggling with histamine issues (more on that in next week’s post), so this will be a bit of a quickie.

Antihistamine progress: Loratadine

I’ve started on 10 mg per day of Loratadine antihistamine solution[1]. I was previously taking 10 mg twice per day of Cetirizine solution[2] to keep my symptoms relatively under control (this was double the advised dose – not recommend without your Doctor’s approval). The new medication hasn’t been an easy adjustment, if you can even call it that. I’ve felt fatigued, itchy, snotty and sneezy all week – incredibly uncomfortable. I’m going to give it another week before I report back to my Doctor and explore other options. I’m starting to suspect my issue might be that my histamine-releasing cells (mast cells) are over-active, rather than my previous assumption that it’s my body having an issue breaking down histamine (an enzyme dysfunction). It would be great if I could be referred to an immunological clinic, so that they can figure it out for me.

Food Re-purpose: Pasta bakeCauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’

Last week Mum made a delicious cauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’, which she served up with roast potato and sweet potato. I froze the leftovers for another day – I love it when there’s leftovers! I decided to re-purpose the cauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’ into a pasta bake for a simple, low effort, tasty meal:

Cauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’. Top: My re-purposed cauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’ pasta bake. Bottom: Mum’s cauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’ with roast potato and sweet potato

Food: New buy – Quinoa flakes

Someone on Instagram recommended quinoa flakes as a “game changer” ingredient if you’re not keen on quinoa, so of course I had to get me some to try. Apparently, they can be used as a breakfast cereal, porridge oats replacement or in baking. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes when I do:

BioFair quinoa flakes

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Here’s a few positives from my week:

Every step counts no matter how small:

I hadn’t felt like I achieved much health-wise recently due to my histamine issues holding me back. But I’m happy to have made a little step forward: I realised that I don’t need to add sugar to my chicory (coffee replacement) drink – I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to realise this! Any improvement, as small as it may be, is better than giving up, or falling back into unhealthy habits. So, I’m giving myself a little pat on the back for reducing my ‘free sugar’ intake a little:

The ‘pat on the back’ image Pixabay offered me (Graphics@ HandiHow)

Friends in real life:

I was excited to meet up with Bevy in person, especially as we missed last week, for a good ole catch up on the driveway:

Dad’s pretty flowers along the driveway

Choir practice:

I joined a choir! For those of you who know me, this is a big deal. I don’t sing in front of people – it’s one of my fears. This started at Junior school (I must have been around 10 years old) after the music teacher stopped the whole class saying that someone was singing out of tune and everyone pointed at me. After that I just mimed. I used to love singing before this incident. Anyway, my friend, Dawn, encouraged me to attend the online long covid choir (and explained you can mute yourself). So, I thought why not give it a try? I’m so glad I did. Zoe (the teacher) had such a friendly smiley face and was really encouraging. I liked the breathing exercises and explanations of how to sing particular notes. It was fun, so I’ll be returning next week for more:

Heartfelt Choir. I joined a choir!

Happy Birthday to me, again:

My Mum found a Birthday present she’d put away ‘safely’ for me. My Birthday was back in February. I was given a bamboo comb, which I was on the verge of buying myself, so I’m glad I hadn’t got around to purchasing one yet. It was a lovely surprise receiving an unexpected late Birthday present:

Happy Birthday to me. My belated bamboo comb Birthday present from my Mum

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 week for another catch up.

>>>Week 79
<<<Week 77
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References

1. National Health Service, 2018. Loratadine (including Clarityn).

2. National Health Service, 2018. Cetirizine.

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Health Diary Week 50: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Coming Soon…

Image: Priyam Patel, Pixabay

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<<<Week 49

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

What’s New

Well, it’s been a wet week – loads of rain and general greyness – surprisingly, this hasn’t brought my mood down and I‘m continuing to feel positive – decent sleep makes a massive difference (Week 48 provides an insight into how I combatted my insomnia). The only downer has been the ongoing rhinitis (aka snot and sneezing). Now I’m really silly, because I know the rhinitis is probably caused by what I’m consuming, but I’m kind of ignoring that, as I only have a couple of weeks left before I seriously  restrict my diet (temporarily I hope) in an attempt to break the excess histamine cycle (more in Week 47).

A happy, smiley me this week

Coming soon!:
I’m really excited to announce I’m going to share my first Guest Blog post on Friday 9 October. I’d recently been thinking about how so many people I know have inspiring health stories or interesting specialisms, but don’t necessarily have the platform for sharing. So, I thought why not share my platform with family and friends. We’ll be debuting with my cousin, Alice, who works in the clinical trials industry – very relevant given the current COVID-19 vaccine trials. More stories to follow soon (hopefully)…

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s move on to 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 mostly mixed grain cereal with almond milk. I’ll be swapping to gluten free oat milk soon, as almonds, well, all tree nuts, which is pretty much all nuts, will be off the menu. I’ll be replacing nuts with more seeds. Other meals were fresh papaya and yeast extract on toast:

Week 50 Breakfasts. Left: Nature’s Path cereal. Right: Papaya

Lunch:

Predictably, I had My Typical Salad four times, accompanied by hash browns or falafel. I enjoyed more salad stuffed into a sandwich with ‘ham’ slices, twice – I do love a good sandwich. Also, I had a Thai red curry ready meal, as I’m trying to make space in the freezer for storing homemade meals, because according to the British Dietetic Association, any aged food (e.g. ready meals, refrigerated leftovers, fermented) results in increased vasoactive amines (including histamine)[1], meaning I need to avoid these and immediately freeze any leftovers:

Week 50 Lunches. Left to right: My Typical Salad. Amy’s Kitchen Thai red curry. Quorn ‘ham’ and salad sandwich with crisps

Dinner:

On Monday I had leftover cauliflower roast with a baked potato and purple carrots. We had vegetable fajitas the next day – I’m going to have to come up with a tasty alternative on my elimination diet. Mixed bean chilli, which I had twice will also be a thing of the past, as will the chickpea curry and lentils I also ate. But I’ll try to reintroduce beans and lentils soon after my elimination, as legumes have many health-promoting properties. Oh and no more soya, so the burger will be out too. Despite the looming restrictions, I’m kind of looking forward to finding new meals to enjoy – I like to experiment:

Week 50 Dinners. Clockwise: Roasted cauliflower. Curry, dhal and rice. Mixed bean chilli and garlic bread. Vegetable fajita

Snacks:

There was quite a bit of snacking this week. My appetite seems to have increased with the change in season. I’ve inadvertently moved the oat biscuits to the morning snack slot – that’s basically me having enough willpower to resist them at breakfast, but totally caving when I meet my parents for morning coffee. I had crisp-like snacks a few times. I ate a bit of chocolate every day, except for when I indulged in Mum’s highly indulgent pavlova – made with leftover water from a chickpea can, instead of eggs – delicious! – honestly:

Week 50 Snacks. Left to right: Eat Real quinoa chips. Pineapple pavlova with whipped cream (‘wow!’). Montezuma mint chocolate

Alcohol

On Monday evening, I finished off the last of my low-sulphite red wine – just one glass – from when I met with Elise in her garden over a week ago – surprisingly it still tasted fine. Saturday night was more excessive – I drank the equivalent of six spiced rums with three cans of cola. I finished the evening with my last bottle of gluten free beer. I felt surprisingly okay on Sunday, although my sleep was disrupted, so it became a ‘duvet day’ – it was wonderful – the duvet day, not the disrupted sleep:

Week 50 Alcohol. Left: red wine. Right: Gluten-free beer

Exercise

Well, it wasn’t hard to improve on last week’s minimal physical activity. I’m happy I totalled over four hours exercise, with two Wii Fit sessions (77 minutes total), 50 minutes on the exercise bike and two walks (two hours total according to Active 10, including home pottering). The walks were strategically timed for breaks in rain – there were still raindrops on the flora photos:

Week 50 Exercise. Clockwise: Shy squirrel. Berries. Yellow flower (that’s all I know). Some kind of inedible berry?

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, my weight stayed the same at 167.4 lb (75.9 kg) – I’m totally okay with this, as I expect to lose weight (with additional health gains) when I’m following the histamine elimination diet. It pleased me that my body fat percentage reduced by 1.5% – any progress shall be rightfully celebrated:

Week 50 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Ah, possibly my favourite section…

Creative Socialising:

Over the Winter months, my social bubble will decrease with expected increased viral cases (e.g. COVID-19, flu, colds). With the recent ridiculous amount of rain, we’ve become more creative about social space. I’ve used our garage to meet a couple of friends during downpours. We usually shut-off the conservatory when it’s cold, but agreed we’ll use it this year to replace our household driveway coffee mornings, so we’ve now got a toasty heater. On the rare occasion we might meet someone outside of our household in the conservatory, we decided to open the windows for ventilation and that it couldn’t hurt to use my air purifier (I originally got it to reduce allergens). N.B. I don’t think air purifier effectiveness has been tested on COVID-19 particles as yet (interesting Which? article about this[3]), so we still need to be as vigilant as always:

Creative socialising. Left: The garage set-up (chairs will be spaced further apart) and driveway/pond view from the garage. Right: My air purifier and the new heater for toasty(ish) conservatory socials when the garage isn’t a possibility

Nerd Joy at Journal Club:

I was excited for the upcoming MyNutriWeb journal club. I loved journal club at Uni, where we reviewed scientific nutrition articles. I even undertook a systematic review for my Dissertation, involving reviewing loads of gut microbiota experiments. The plan had been to complete a meta-analysis too, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough data for the statistical analyses. Sorry, I digress… This week we reviewed a paper investigating a specific fibre (prebiotic) and bacteria (probiotic) supplement(s) effect on the gut microbiota and immune function – interesting right?:

Images: MyNutriWeb: Journal Club info and my certificate of attendance

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

I should clarify, having IBS doesn’t make me smile, not that I have it – thankfully I don’t – okay, so that’s a positive in itself. But unfortunately, it’s a condition experienced by many. So, it’s important, from a professional perspective, to review how to assess the symptoms and potential triggers. The MyNutriWeb webinar took a holistic approach, recognising how diet, the brain and microbiota are inter-linked. So, identifying and managing food and drink triggers (diet), reducing stress and negative thought patterns (brain) and improving gut health (microbiota) to reduce symptoms is important – fascinating stuff:

Images: MyNutriWeb IBS webinar and infographic

The Pond is Back:

I wondered if the pond next to our driveway would ever re-fill – it’s been empty all Summer. I was excited to see that the recent days of heavy rainfall resulted in a few inches of water (top right pic). I also took a photo of the pond from the other side (bottom left pic). I suspect the cats won’t be impressed their territory has been somewhat decreased – I hope we still see them from time-to-time:

Pond Views. Clockwise: Rainy day from the dry inside. Pond from the driveway. Beautiful butterfly. View from the other side

The Meringue Incident:

It’s rare I hear my Mum swear, especially the ‘F’ word, and so loudly too! She had one of our frequent Dyspraxia[2] incidents – the kind when you’re trying ever so hard to be really careful. Mum was removing an oven shelf to move the meringue up, but instead dropped the whole tray onto the meringue she’d spent ages beautifully presenting. We did have a giggle about it though. Thankfully, all was not lost, and Mum re-shaped the meringue (kind of), so you’d never know what had happened after she’d lavishly topped it with cream and fresh pineapple – I have to say it was delicious:

Top: That pesky jumping oven shelf. Bottom: Left: The squashed meringue re-shaping. Right: The beautiful end result

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. Oh, and remember, I’ll be publishing a Guest Blog post on Friday – please check it out.

>>>Week 51
<<<Week 49
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References

1. British Dietetic Association Food Allergy Specialist Group, 2018. Sensitivity to Histamine and other Vasoactive Amines.
2. Dyspraxia Foundation, 2019. Dyspraxia in Adults.
3. Woodger, C., Which?, 2020. Coronavirus: can an air purifier protect you?.

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

The Human Yo-Yo

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay

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<<<Week 46

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

What’s New

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

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

Food and Nutrition

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

Breakfast:

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

Week 47 Breakfasts

Lunch:

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

Week 47 Lunches

Dinner:

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

Week 47 Dinners

Snacks:

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

Week 47 Snacks

Alcohol

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

Week 47 Alcohol

Exercise

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

I’ve got such long legs!

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

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

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

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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References

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

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