Health Diary Week 58: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

I Changed My Plan

Plan Change. Image: yogesh more, Pixabay

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

What’s New

It was the last full week of lockdown 2.0, so it’s been relatively quiet here – again just leaving the house to go for a walk and an unplanned drive (more on that in my smile section).

My injured shoulder is improving, although movement is still quite restricted. I’m optimistic it will continue to improve over time.

 I was up to ten days without taking antihistamine (since I last caved), but I didn’t feel healthy – I was exhausted most of the time and struggled to function. So, I decided to undertake further research – I spent ages searching for information about adverse long-term effects from my antihistamine (cetirizine), but couldn’t find what had worried me before, so for now I’m discounting that concern (Week 47). I watched a really interesting YouTube video by RUN-DMC, interviewing Dr Tina Peers, a specialist in histamine intolerance (Factsheet[1]) and mast cells (a histamine releaser). Interestingly, the focus was on long-haul covid and a possible link to mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS)[2]. She advised that mast cells are renewed around every six months, so by calming down these cells (e.g. adopting a low histamine diet, taking specific supplements and antihistamines), the next generation of mast cells tend to behave better (video here[3]). All fascinating stuff, requiring further research. So, I’m back on the antihistamines for now.

Also, I’ve just finished completing an application for another job that sounded very me, which is why this post is a day later than usual. Fingers crossed!

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 quite minimal, as I just wasn’t feeling it. I had hearty porridge oats with apple and blackcurrant jam once, but other than that, a handful of nuts or some fruit (melon, apple) sufficed:

Week 58 Breakfasts: Left to right: Canatloupe melon. Porridge oats with apple and blackcurrant jam. Apples

Lunch:

I hadn’t realised until looking back at my diary that I’d opted for pasta with sweetcorn and onion four times this week – I didn’t have much energy for food preparation – hence why I’m back on the antihistamines, as not taking them seemed counter-productive to my nutrition status. I managed to cobble together salad on three days, but supplies were limited before our next online delivery. I was pleased with my cornmeal-based frittatas, one with red pepper, the other with cabbage. But I risked using a red pepper past it’s best and I suspect that set off a nasty bout of rhinitis Monday evening:

Week 58 Lunches: Left to right: Red pepper cornmeal frittata with salad. Brown rice pasta with sweetcorn and spring onion. Cabbage cornmeal frittata with salad.

Dinner:

I utilised some of my batch prepared meals from the freezer for several dinners. I tweaked my brown rice with purple carrot and cabbage (ingredients) by stirring in some not tomato sauce (ingredients) – this worked very well. I loved the vegetable paella I’d made previously (ingredients) – I added some polenta bites (ingredients, plus onion) as the portion was a little small for my liking. I also had pumpkin and potato coconut curry from the freezer with some rice (ingredients). Mum cooked up some red cabbage, sweet potato wedges and Jerusalem artichokes, which was a surprisingly satisfying meal. And I assisted Mum with making a delicious squash soup (ingredients) earlier in the week. But my highlight has to be the amazingly tasty cauliflower bites and potato roasties I made, incorporating cornmeal for crunchiness and various flavours (ingredients) – this took some time to cook, but I’ll definitely be making it again – Oh, I should mention they were accompanied by steamed broccoli:

Week 58 Dinners Log Table
Week 58 Dinners: Clockwise: Brown rice with purple carrot and cabbage with not tomato sauce. Vegetable paella with polenta bites. Red cabbage, sweet potato and Jerusalem artichokes. Cauliflower bites, potato roasties and broccoli

Snacks:

There wasn’t much in the way of snacking really. Mostly I snacked on popcorn – I proportion it into a small bowl to avoid over-eating, because it’s just so more-ish. Other times I had an apple, rice cakes with jam, or a handful of nuts:

Week 58 Snacks Log Table

Drinks:

As I mentioned last week, I’m totally in love with my replacement coffee – the wonderful Chicory Cup – I drink two to three cups of this stuff each day. Thankfully, it’s naturally caffeine free, so I’m not bouncing off the walls. I was having half a teaspoon of sugar in each cup, but I’m now down to a quarter teaspoon instead. Surprisingly, I didn’t drink any rooibos tea this week. I’m also loving Rocks apple concentrate, which I sometimes have with my lunch. And Biona cranberry juice is another pleasant daytime cold drink. I should mention that I also drink plenty of water throughout the day and evening:

Week 58 Drinks Log Table

Exercise

I’m really pleased with myself for going walking nearly every day – I just missed Wednesday. Mostly I went out with Mum and once Dad joined me. My walking totalled 310 minutes (over 5 hours), which I’m happy with, even more so because it’s a decent increase compared to last week’s physical activity. I want to get myself back to some exercise biking soon. Although, I’m feeling a little wary at the moment, because Dr Peers advised exercise can trigger mast cells to release histamine[1] and I’m trying to calm down those guys:

Week 58 Exercise: Left: Autumnal view from atop a hill. Lone flower seen on a walk.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Well, there was no change in weight and my body fat percentage increased slightly, but I’m not particularly concerned at this stage. I’ll wait and see what next week brings before deciding whether I need to make any tweaks:

Week 58 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

There were plenty of smiles this week. I especially like sharing the little occurrences, as I think it’s important to recognise and appreciate these more…

I Ate a Prince:

I’m loving the names given to squash. This week I had a ‘Crown Prince’ squash, which Mum and I made into a very simple but delicious soup (ingredients here):

Crown Prince Squash. Images: Top: Abel and Cole. Bottom right: Martin Ludlam, Pixabay. Bottom left: Mine

I’m in the Club:

I enjoy reading and critiquing scientific research papers, so I was really pleased when MyNutriWeb introduced a journal club. We critiqued a cross-sectional research paper investigating energy content of restaurant meals. I’m such a nerd, but a proud nerd!:

MyNuriWeb Journal Club. Images: MyNutriWeb

Natural Beauty:

Mum and I spotted these berries and flower whilst out walking one day. They looked extra beautiful, because everything else around them looked quite barren:

Pretty berries and flower spotted on a walk

Slow – Hedgehogs:

We saw this cute sign outside someone’s home during one of our walks. I love that they’d put up a sign. And a bowl of water for passing creature visitors. Also, the little red flowers by the sign were a lovely sight too at this time of year:

Slow down for the hedgehogs!

Potato Love:

My sister made me smile when she sent me a meme of a kitten cuddling up to some mashed potatoes. She’s right – I love potatoes, I think I always have. I seem to be developing a similar relationship to cornmeal, onions, turmeric and sweet paprika:

Top: Meme my sister sent me. Bottom: My potato roasties – yum!

The Failed Country Park Walk:

Mum suggested we jump in the car and visit a local country park for a walk. But us being us, this didn’t go quite to plan. First, we thought it would be a good idea to stop at a park to cut through on foot, but then realised the grounds were very muddy. So, we aborted that idea and drove to the back of the country park (diverting to check out the house I first remember living in), but we couldn’t find anywhere to park. So, we drove to the usual car park, but we got confused by the new not-ticket system and I needed to wee by this point, so we just drove home and went for a shorter than intended walk close to home, while giggling about our fail:

Driving around – this was a day (back in the Summer) when we knew what we were doing

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 59
<<<Week 57
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References

1. Dr Tina Peers, 2020. Histamine Intolerance factsheet.
2. Dr Tania Dempsey, 2020. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).
3. RUN-DMC, 2020. Here’s How You Treat Long Covid – Lessons From MCAS – Dr Tina Peers.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate

Health Diary Week 57: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

I Totally Caved!

Me on Messenger – this isn’t how I usually look – honest! I hope this pic made you smile

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<<<Week 56

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

What’s New

Here in England, we’re still in lockdown – I know, it’s not actually new, but worth mentioning – the only time I left my home was to go for a walk.

Histamine Error:

At the end of Week 56, I took a risk and ate some bread containing sunflower seeds – this turned out to be a very, very bad idea! And I enjoyed the bread so much, that I ate another two slices for breakfast on Monday. The result – severe rhinitis on Tuesday and Wednesday rendering me incapable of functioning – so, I caved and took antihistamine and steroid nasal spray – I was a bit gutted, as I’d achieved 24 days without them. In hindsight, I should have checked the histamine food list[1], as it showed significant symptoms at usual quantity – whoops! Thankfully, I felt okay the remainder of the week. As of last Sunday, I’m back up to four days without use. Also, I’ve changed my environment slightly, by moving into the guest room and swapping my duvet for a different one – I’ve also got a hypoallergenic bamboo duvet and pillow coming my way for Christmas – so excited about this!

The Potential Culprit: Seedful gluten, dairy and yeast free (tasty) bread

Hypermobility Incident:

The other unfortunate occurrence was a repeat hypermobility[2] incident on my right shoulder – it part popped out of joint (subluxation) when I stretched my arms while still half asleep. Thankfully, it quickly realigned itself, but now it’s incredibly sore and achy again, disrupting my sleep.

Food Experiments:

It’s not all doom and gloom – on a happier note, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with food preparation for my low histamine diet – I enjoy challenging myself. And of course, you’ll see more examples of what made me smile later in this post.

Food and Nutrition

Okay, 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:

Monday started with that fateful seeded bread, so I won’t be doing that again. I only had porridge oats once, with apple and my other usual toppings. On Thursday I felt brave enough to try another food challenge – this time was a safer choice of mango, as occasional small quantities were found to be usually well tolerated[1] – and indeed it seemed to be. I had a honeydew melon over two days for a change – it tasted delightful. I skipped breakfast on Sunday, just because I didn’t fancy any:

Week 57 Breakfasts. Left-to-right: Mango Challenge. Porridge Oats with Apple. Honeydew Melon

Lunch:

I had my new typical salad over five days, with beetroot when available and either steamed potatoes, or my new love, polenta bites. When I felt rough on Tuesday I opted for some Mexican chia and flax crackers and salted popcorn. Likewise, on Wednesday I chose a simple pasta flavoured with turmeric and sweet paprika, accompanied by crackers:

Week 57 Lunches: My New Typical Salad with Steamed Potatoes or Polenta Bites

Dinner:

On Monday I ate half a sweet potato from the freezer with fresh asparagus and broccoli and my first trial of making polenta. Tuesday was a simple dish of rice with turmeric and sweet paprika, as I didn’t have the energy to do much. I was feeling a lot better by Wednesday evening, so I made a butternut squash risotto. I cooked a batch of brown rice with cabbage and purple carrot the following day. At the weekend I decided to experiment and finally prepare a ‘not tomato sauce’[3] and some cauliflower bites – both were soooo good. My Mum kindly made me a baked potato with courgette, turmeric and sweet paprika – love this! On Sunday I decided to attempt a red pepper frittata with cornmeal instead of chickpea flour (it worked well) and accompanied this with potato roasties and ‘not tomato sauce’:

Week 57 Dinners Log Table
Week 57 Dinners: Clockwise: Sweet Potato with Broccoli, Asparagus and Polenta. Butternut Squash Risotto. Cornmeal Pepper Frittata with Potato Roasties. Rice with Cabbage and Purple Carrot

Snacks:

Snacks were my usual popcorn and nuts (macadamia and Brazil, sadly I’d run out of pistachios). Also, I had a few butternut squash seeds from my risotto and I wanted to see how they tasted roasted – they were good.

Week 57 Snacks Log Table

Drinks:

My teas included rooibos, apple and cinnamon and chamomile. Juices were cranberry and apple and cranberry concentrate. My most exciting drink has to be the chicory coffee replacement – game changer! – I don’t feel quite so deprived. I’ve decided I’m probably okay with small amounts of  gluten free oat milk in my rooibos and chicory drinks:

Week 57 Drinks Log Table

Exercise

My exercise was solely walking – that will do me for now. I completed four walks, totalling 218 minutes (over three and a half hours), a little less than last week, but that’s okay:

Week 57 Exercise: Left-to-right: Blossom in November? My Active 10 walks. Tree tops

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Excitingly, I lost 1.8 lb (0.8 kg), finally taking me under the 160 lb mark (yippee!), weighing in at 159.6 lb (72.4 kg). A lovely surprise – although it shouldn’t be, because I’m preparing meals from scratch, much like I did when I first went completely plant-based (now vegan) and lost loads of weight. The only difference here is my higher fat intake, albeit mostly unsaturated fats. Admittedly my body fat went up slightly, but my three measurements (to obtain mean average) ranged between 37.8% and 39.4% fat, so I’m not confident about the reading:

Week 57 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Okay, this week may be a bit top-heavy on food making me smile, but hey, that’s not so bad given my current diet restrictions…

Zoom Time:

I’ll start with something not food based – my lovely Zoom meet up on Tuesday with Magda and Emelie, friends from university. I felt bad that I was sniffling and sneezing throughout the meet – not nice for them, but it was so good to catch up and hear some exciting news that brightened my day:

Images: Alexandra_Koch and Annalise Batista, Pixabay

Corny Love:

I can’t believe I haven’t cooked with cornmeal before – I’m loving it! I started with pre-prepared polenta grains – too grainy, but I could see the potential. I’d recommend making polenta from the finer cornmeal and adding flavours. My go-to is spring onion, chia and flax seeds, rapeseed oil, turmeric, sweet paprika and salt. I bet it would taste great with garlic and chilli too. Also I successfully made a frittata with a cornmeal base. And my tasty cauliflower bites were coated in a cornmeal and spice mix – I’m totally having that again too:

Cornmeal: Clockwise: Polenta block. Polenta bites with salad. Cauliflower bites. Frittata

Not Tomato Sauce:

It took me a while to find the motivation to try the British Dietetics Association alternative tomato sauce[3], but it was so worth it. I now have a decent batch of sauce in the freezer. Admittedly it has quite an earthy taste with carrots and beetroot being the main ingredients, but I quite like that. I’ve used it as a hot stir-in or cold ketchup-like sauce:

Not tomato sauce: Clockwise: My beetroot hand. The sauce batch ready for the freezer. Cauliflower bites topped with sauce. Pasta topped generously with sauce

Pretend Coffee:

Wow, I’m so incredibly happy that I found this Chicory Cup replacement coffee, so I had to give it a spot here. It says to add two teaspoons, but I found that one was enough for me. As soon as I tried it, I ordered more. This has made me feel less jealous of Mum and Dad’s cafetiere when we have our late morning coffee break:

My Coffee Replacement: Chicory Cup

Nutrition e-Symposium:

On Wednesday I attended an afternoon e-Symposium presented by Alpro Foundation via MyNutriWeb discussing the benefits of a plant-based diet for cardiometabolic health (e.g. heart disease and type 2 diabetes). A healthy vegan (wholly plant-based) diet came out top for weight loss, health gains and lowest environmental impact, although just increasing plant foods had a beneficial effect:

Alpro Foundation e-Symposium (Images: MyNutriWeb)

Messenger Video Silliness:

Tina arranged for us to have a Messenger video chat – it was great to have a catch up. I’d never used the Messenger chat room before, so I was keen to give it a try. Little did I know about the hilarious features – after Tina’s demonstration I had to try them all out. As it was, we settled for chatting to each other wearing glasses (top row of the pictures):

Messenger Video Silliness

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 58
<<<Week 56
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References

1. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2016. Food Compatibility List.
2. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes?
3. British Dietetic Association Food Allergy Specialist Group, 2018. Sensitivity to Histamine and other Vasoactive Amines.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate

Health Diary Week 56: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The Investigations Continue: Week 4 Histamine Elimination

Image: GraphicMama-team, Pixabay

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<<<Week 55

Hi, welcome to my weekly instalment (albeit a day later than usual) of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and smile-provoking experiences.

What’s New

Not much has happened here, as England is now in its second week of the latest lockdown. I’m pleased I got outside for a few walks, mostly with Mum. The fresh air seems to clear my morning sniffles, so I think there’s something(s) in the house I’m reacting to, as well as the food intolerances. As of Sunday, I’ve resisted taking antihistamines or steroid spray for 23 days, but I’ve been ridiculously tired, having to give in to sleeping for a couple of hours each afternoon because I can’t keep my eyes open – that’s not normal! When it’s safer to do so, I’m going to ask my GP (again) if I can have testing to figure out what’s wrong with me – last time they didn’t explore it at all and just told me I had to accept having to take a prescribed steroid spray indefinitely – I can’t accept that option without any real investigation, so in the meantime, it’s a mystery I’m continuing to work 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:

Breakfasts were porridge oats with fruit, seeds, sweet cinnamon and maple syrup (three times), rice cakes with jam (twice), apples and nuts. This has pretty much become standard for me and I’m happy enough with these choices for now:

Week 56 Breakfasts: Left: Porridge with apple and blackberry jam. Middle Rice cakes with blueberry and apricot jams and a nectarine. Right: porridge with blueberries

Lunch:

I’m so pleased I’ve continued to eat mainly salad lunches, albeit minus my favourites: tomato and avocado, although surprisingly I haven’t missed them as much as I’d expected. But I had a dream Mum gave me a plate of sliced tomatoes and she wasn’t happy when I said I couldn’t eat them – so maybe subconsciously I’m missing them? I’ve compensated for not having falafel or hash browns with either extra steamed potatoes, brown rice pasta or quinoa. Also, Mum made a yummy carrot and coriander soup, which I ate on two days. I risked having some bread with my soup on Sunday – it contained sunflower seeds (potentially causing significant histamine symptoms), so this might have been a mistake – we’ll see:

Week 56 Lunches: My New Typical Salad: Left: with pasta, asparagus and beetroot. Middle: with quinoa. Right: with pasta

Dinner:

I struggled with motivation to prepare food from scratch, so the frozen meals from previous weeks’ batch cooking came in handy: butternut squash risotto, pumpkin, potato and coconut curry(ish) and pumpkin with spaghetti (Week 55). However, I did make a very tasty vegetable paella on Monday and ate more again on Saturday. Mum made me a delicious vegetable spaghetti too – unfortunately I didn’t have any leftover to freeze. I also had my new favourite baked potato combo with spring onion, courgette and turmeric:

Week 56 Dinners: Left: Vegetable spaghetti. Right: Paella with sweet potato wedges

Snacks:

I think I’m getting addicted to popcorn – I’m loving the stuff! I was so pleased to find Sainsbury’s popcorn had minimal ingredients and used rapeseed oil instead of sunflower, because sunflower oil may cause issue on a low histamine diet. My only concern is the popcorn is high fat, but at least saturated (unhealthy) fat content is considered okay. My other go-to continues to be Brazil and pistachio nuts:

Week 56 Snacks: Left: Sweet and salty popcorn. Middle: Brazil and pistachio nuts. Right: Salty popcorn

Drinks

I tried hemp milk in my rooibos tea as I’m unsure if oat milk is a problem, but I wasn’t keen on the hemp milk. I’m starting to get used to chamomile and peppermint teas, but definitely prefer apple and cinnamon tea. Surprisingly, I haven’t missed alcohol much. But I am missing fruit juice, so I was thankful to find a cranberry and apple juice that’s hopefully going to be okay:

Week 56 Drinks

Exercise

I’m still struggling with fatigue, so I was pleased with myself for getting out for a walk on five days, totalling 265 minutes (4.4 hours), of which 174 minutes (nearly three hours) was recorded as brisk by my free Active 10 app:

Week 56 Exercise: Left: Blooming roses in November? Right: Mum inspecting a silver tree

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I was a little surprised that my weight and body fat pretty much stayed the same, as I was expecting it to drop a little, especially with the increased physical activity. I’m thankful though that it didn’t increase, although I’ll have to wait a bit longer for my 14 lb milestone reward:

Week 56 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

It’s been a quiet week; despite this, there are always happenings that make me smile…

Gaining Knowledge:

I’ll start with the learning, because I do love learning ever so much. This week’s MyNutriWeb free continuing professional development was ‘Reversing Type 2 Diabetes’. This lecture focused on the DIRECT trial, which concentrated on weight loss. The plan included a three-month phase of complete diet replacement formula providing just 850 calories per day. They found a weight loss of at least 15 kg (33 lb) had the best rates for remission two years after the intervention. I was surprised to learn the study participants found the food reintroduction phase the most challenging part: 

Bath Time:

I was excited to see that the same ducks came back to our pond this week. We sat watching them for ages. They spent most of their time bathing (video here). There was tension for a few minutes when the two males had a bit of a barny, but thankfully they soon got over whatever the issue was:

Ducks’ Bath Day in our next-door pond

Suncatchers and Raindrops:

My Aunty made me these gorgeous purple, blue and green coloured suncatchers for my birthday earlier this year (Week 44). I was impressed by how beautiful they still looked despite the lack of sunlight and the grey rainy day. They make me smile regularly:

Suncatchers and Raindrops

Introducing Mr Blackbird:

Mummy Bird (a blackbird) was unimpressed when Mr Blackbird started visiting us at the bird feeder – we know she wasn’t happy because she was shouting at him as she chased him away. Mr Blackbird has been back since though and he seems keen to become friends. I hope Mummy Bird lets him:

Introducing Mr Blackbird: Potentially a New Bird Friend

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 57
<<<Week 55
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More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 54: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Real Meals: Week 2 Histamine Elimination Diet

Butternut Squash Risotto

Home
<<<Week 53

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

What’s New

Firstly, apologies for the delayed post – it’s been a tough week – my second on the Swiss Interest Group strict histamine elimination diet[1] and I’ve had some last-minute socialising (safely distanced) before lockdown:

Resisting Antihistamines:

The diet advises refraining from taking my usual antihistamine or steroid spray, to accurately track progress. This was scary, as this year, I’ve developed an increasing reliance on these medications to get me through the day and sometimes even then, they didn’t prevent severe rhinitis. More recently, in desperation, I sometimes took an extra dose of the antihistamine – I know – this wasn’t good practice. So, I’m amazed I haven’t taken any of this medication for nine days (as of Sunday). But it hasn’t been an easy ride – I’ve felt constantly exhausted and I’ve had to contend with several days of severe rhinitis (I got through two boxes of tissues!). And, I’ve had itching episodes (this was new for me), a couple of times developing a rash across my chest and shoulders.

Progress:

I was thinking I should be feeling loads better by now, but I’ll keep going for the duration (another two to four weeks) and check my diary to identify any patterns. I think part of the issue could be environmental (e.g. dust, pollen). I’m also wondering if I have an issue with oat milk, as it often contains minimal histamine due to the fermentation process. But the other plant-based option, rice milk, has the same issue. Or perhaps, it’s the blueberry muffins I ate that weren’t super fresh after a day? I’ll keep an eye on how it goes.

Histamine Intolerance:

If you’d like more information on histamine intolerance and its symptoms, the Swiss Interest Group[2] and Dr Tina Peers[3] provide a helpful overview. Here’s some typical symptoms to be aware of:

  • Rhinitis: Runny nose, sneezing, coughing, throat irritation, breathing difficulty
  • IBS symptoms: Bloating, wind, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, heartburn
  • Skin issues: Eczema, psoriasis, rosacea (flushed face), itching (e.g. scalp), rashes (arms, legs, trunk), severe reaction to insect bites, swollen eyelids
  • Painful joints (muscles, jaw, neck, groin), easy bruising, period pains (including when not menstruating), cystitis episodes
  • Insomnia, exhaustion (ME), migraine, dizziness, nausea, vomiting.

Appetite Reduction:

I’ve been pleased to notice a reduction in my appetite and lack of food cravings (e.g. chocolate, coffee) since last week’s rice and potato diet. I kind of feel like I’ve been reset. I kept putting larger portions on my plate and then only eating half – I’m loving this side of things at least.

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate and how my diet has changed since Week 52:

Breakfast:

I had porridge oats three times, topped with either apple or blueberries, flax and chia seeds, sweet cinnamon and a maple syrup drizzle – I have to say this was delicious – why didn’t I have porridge sooner? Next time, I’m going to try making my porridge with water instead of oat milk to see what happens with my rhinitis. Apples are a renewed love too – I’ll be eating more of these. I also indulged in jams on rice cakes, which was rather tasty:

Week 54 Breakfasts

Lunch:

My first substantial meal after the rice and potato diet was butternut squash risotto (a change from my usual risotto) – it tasted amazing! My previous Typical Salad has been replaced by a new one: mixed leaves, spring onion, celery, radishes, cucumber, beetroot, chia and pumpkin seeds, mixed into sweet paprika and rapeseed oil, with a side of steamed potatoes. Rapeseed is a good choice, as it’s low in saturated fats (6.6%) and high in health-promoting polyunsaturated fats (88.6%) (Fats graph in Week 6). If I want something more filling, I can add fusilli brown rice or corn pasta. I experimented with quinoa, accompanied by asparagus and beetroot (pic in Dinner section) – it tasted okay, but needs some tweaking:

Week 54 Lunches

Dinner:

After the late lunch of butternut risotto, I only had a freshly made (thanks Mum) blueberry muffin for dinner. There was a pasta salad, the quinoa meal I mentioned above, a rather tasty pumpkin and coconut milk curry-ish (I couldn’t use all the usual spices), a large baked sweet potato (I froze half) with asparagus and white cabbage and a large baked potato (I froze half) with sweet paprika and rapeseed oil (my new ‘go-to’ dressing). I’ve noticed my meals are rather yellowy-orange these days!:

Week 54 Dinners

Snacks:

My snacking habits are completely different now – there’s no chocolate! Rice cakes are my new friend – topped with some cheeky jam. Also, crisps have been replaced by popcorn, either sweet and/or salty. I can eat Brazil, pistachios and macadamia nuts and most seeds – a good savoury ‘go-to’. I toasted seeds (in sweet paprika and rapeseed oil, of course) from my pumpkin – they were very more-ish. Mum made another batch of blueberry muffins, so I indulged in these too:

Week 54 Snacks

Drinks

I’ve changed this heading from ‘Alcohol’ to ‘Drinks’, since alcohol is not permitted on the elimination diet and I’ll only be able to drink it occasionally on a low histamine diet. And when I do, I’m better off sticking to clear spirits. I had regular sips of water that haven’t been recorded in the below table. My drink of choice was rooibos tea, but I’m concerned it’s staining my teeth when I don’t use milk and milk might be an issue. I’m also enjoying apple and cinnamon tea and I’ve introduced peppermint tea too. I’m going to have a look at what other teas I can include:

Week 54: Drinks

Food Diversity

I was concerned I may not be eating enough of a diverse diet to feed my little gut buddies (health-promoting microbiota), so I decided to check my intake and I’m pleased to report I consumed 50 different plant foods this week. The last time I checked this was Week 31 – what a different diet I had back then, containing many high histamine foods:

My 50 Challenge – Week 54’s Food Diversity

Exercise

It’s been another week of minimal activity, because I just haven’t felt up to doing much. I’m pleased that I had a couple of walks, totalling just over two hours – that will do for now:

Week 54 Exercise. My Active 10 walks. Bug hotel spotted at a train station

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Excellent – more weight loss – 1.4 lb (0.6 kg) since last week. I gained a bit of body fat though (0.8%), but I’m not surprised given the amount of rapeseed oil I’ve been using to replace dressings and sauces. I need to try the British Dietetic Association alternative to tomato sauce[4] recipe at some point:

Week 54 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I’m pleased to share with you a few of the experiences that made me smile this week:

I’m Looking Sharp:

I was looking back through my photos and saw the below ones that made me chuckle. I didn’t have a positivity section at that time, so I didn’t share this with you then… Apparently, I was looking sharp in my new profile picture – check out my fruity self! I suppose kiwifruit (my hair) can taste quite sharp:

I’m looking sharp! (Sorry for the poor picture quality)

Rugby Six Nations:

I love a bit of rugby, even though I’m confused about what’s going on half the time. The Six Nations was suspended earlier this year when that virus hit. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the final matches were going ahead. My Saturday consisted of watching all three matches. England won the cup – yay!:

Rugby Six Nations (Images: from www.sixnationsrugby.com/)

Vegan Diets Webinar:

It was encouraging to attend a webinar about supporting people on vegan diets to eat healthily, without anyone trying to make it sound like it was complicated, because it doesn’t have to be. I love the infographics produced by Science and Seaweed for MyNutriWeb. There’s a really handy Vegan Eatwell Guide[5] for obtaining a well-rounded nutritious diet. If you’re interested in veganism, or eating a more plant-based diet, there’s some helpful resources by The Vegan Society[6]:

MyNutriWeb Vegan Diets: Person Centred Practice Webinar (Images: MyNutriWeb)

Mum’s Coconut Art:

We’ve been collecting empty coconut shell halves leftover from our bird feeder and wondered what to do with them. I suggested we do something artistic, like making little scenes. Mum took up the challenge and started trialling Christmas scenes – love this!:

Mum’s Coconut Christmas Scenes Art

Another Family Reunion:

Naturally, my week’s highlight was that my sister and her boyfriend decided to visit us for the day. I’m so glad they did, because later in the week it was announced that England is re-entering lockdown. We risked sitting in the conservatory as it was cold and windy outside – we usually only socialise outside. It was lovely to see them again:

Emma and Carl

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 55
<<<Week 53
Home

References

1. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2016. Food Compatibility List.
2. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2019. Histamine Intolerance Outline.
3. Dr Tina Peers, Ca. 2020. Symptoms of HIT.
4. British Dietetic Association Food Allergy Specialist Group, 2018. Sensitivity to Histamine and other Vasoactive Amines.
5. The Vegan Society, 2020. Vegan Eatwell Guide.
6. The Vegan Society, 2020. Vegan and Thriving.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 53: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Histamine Elimination: Rice, Potatoes, Repeat

Rice, Potatoes, Repeat

Home
<<<Week 52

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

What’s New

Well, what a challenging week! I started my histamine elimination diet[1], opting for super strict, meaning only rice, potatoes, salt and sugar[2] on the menu for seven days straight. I’d planned to fast for the first three days, because I felt so yuck after last week’s indulgences. But I soon changed my mind when I realised I’d also have to contend with caffeine withdrawal, since coffee, black and green teas and chocolate were being eliminated. Instead I opted for one meal a day until Thursday.

The worst of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms were over the first five days, manifesting as headaches, fatigue (I kept falling asleep during the day) and some gut discomfort. I’d gradually reduced my coffee intake leading up to the elimination diet, but clearly not enough. In hindsight (don’t you just love it), I should have gone through the caffeine withdrawal prior to starting the diet. Also, this would have helped me cope with the rhinitis, as I caved into taking antihistamines for those five days, because I couldn’t deal with those symptoms on top of the withdrawals.

Food and Nutrition

It was my most boring week ever of food I’m afraid. I literally just ate rice and potatoes all week, with salt added for flavour. I tried adding a little sugar a couple of times because it was ‘allowed’, but decided I wasn’t really into and it wasn’t necessary as I was eating carbohydrates anyway (more info on carbs here). Rice was either brown, white or cracker form. Potatoes were either steamed, baked or oven wedges without any oil.  Below is a collage of my whole week’s meals – the top row is what I ate Monday through to Wednesday. The other rows are each day of the week in succession:

Week 53 Meals: Potatoes and rice – Very beige!

Alcohol

No alcohol – just water all week. I tended to opt for a large mug of boiled water, just because it felt more comforting:

Week 53: Lots of mugs of boiled water

Exercise

There was absolutely no exercise. I spent most of my time in bed napping on-and-off:

Mine and Claudia’s most extravagant stay (by far) in South America (1 night, Quito, Ecuador) before heading off to the Galapagos Islands (2008)

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I lost 5.6 lb (2.5 kg) in just one week, taking my BMI down to 29.0 (back to overweight from last week’s return to obese) and my body fat reduced by 2.7% to 39% – lovely. Now, I know my results for the week look pretty impressive, but that’s to be expected given my minimal food intake Monday to Wednesday and my limited diet of just potatoes and rice. I’m not going to lie – of course I enjoyed seeing my numbers drop so much, especially after last week’s gain:

Week 53 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

As I said earlier, it was an incredibly challenging week, so it’s nice to look at the positive experiences. Surprisingly, there were quite a few smile-provokers:

Cracking Shoulder:

My highlight has to be when my right shoulder cracked loudly and re-aligned itself correctly after a couple of weeks knowing it wasn’t in the right place (hypermobility issues). The pain had been nearing unbearable – it felt like all the ligaments and tendons in my arm were stretching in the wrong direction when I moved it and I was thinking I’d need to seek medical help. The relief when it realigned was immense – it’s still sore, but I can cope with that:

Shoulder and arm pain – ouch. Image: Tumisu, Pixabay

Knotty Hair Relief:

Recently my hair had become annoyingly knotty on the ends, but I don’t feel comfortable going to a hairdresser salon yet. So, I entrusted Mum with the scissors and said, ‘go for it’. I think she did a decent job, not that I’ve looked at it closely:

Knotty hair relief hair trim. Image: sille23, Pixabay

More Learning – Cardiometabolic Health:

Yep, more learning for me. This week’s MyNutriWeb continuing professional development was part two of ‘Cardiometabolic Health and Plant Based Eating’. I’m, so loving the increased promotion of plant-based eating for healthy ageing. The key recommendations were not to get caught up on individual nutrients and instead look at dietary patterns. Also, it’s important to choose a diet you feel you can adhere to best. The recommended diets we looked at were Mediterranean, Vegetarian (ranging from vegan to flexitarian) and Nordic:

MyNutriWeb CPD: Cardiometabolic Health & Plant Based Eating. Images: MyNutriWeb Instagram

My Brian:

I don’t have a Brian, but I do have a brain. I was amused to see this game advertising brain health development as it had a key spelling mistake, which didn’t promote any confidence in me that it would improve my brain. Oh, and that below figure of 72 wasn’t my brain age! – Maybe it was Brian’s?:

Advertised game: Reduce your brian age! Image: Word Crush

1,000 Likes – Yay!:

Wow, I’ve reached 1,000 Likes. Thank you so much to everyone who has pressed that Like button, especially to those who read my posts – sometimes you just get Likes without your post being read, with the expectation to return those Likes. Just so that you know, I never Like a post unless I’ve read it first:

1,000 Likes on WordPress – Thank you 😊

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 54
<<<Week 52
Home

References

1. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2016. Food Compatibility List.
2. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2020. SIGHI-Leaflet Histamine Intolerance: Dietary Change.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 51: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Once Upon a Time… in Watson World

Open Book Landscape Scene: Mystic Art Design, Pixabay

Home
<<<Week 50

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

What’s New

It’s been a relatively quiet and happy week. Here’s my updates…

Guest Blogs:

Excitingly, I published my first Guest Blog written by my cousin, Alice, who works in the clinical trials industry: Mythbusting the Coronavirus Vaccine. It was an informative read, supported by useful references (I especially liked the first video that provided an animated explanation of vaccines). I’m looking forward to sharing more Guest Blogs in the future.

General Health:

I’m relieved to report I’m still sleeping well and I feel back to usual resilient self. The rhinitis issues are ongoing – most likely because of what I’m eating – but I’ll be addressing these soon with the looming strict Histamine Elimination Diet[1] from Week 53 onwards. Also, I’m still struggling with a painful right shoulder and arm, but I’m hoping that will ease up soon.

Dyspraxia Awareness Week:

It was Dyspraxia Awareness Week. Dyspraxia[2] is the lesser known cousin to Dyslexia. When I was diagnosed with Dyspraxia in my late 30s, a friend retorted “it’s just a label, everyone has problems” – what they didn’t realise was that I’d lived my life feeling stupid in disguise. The diagnosis provided a life-changing insight into myself and now I’m happy with me and I don’t feel stupid at all (well, not often). Okay, so we know there are plenty of challenges for us neurodiverse individuals to overcome, but we mustn’t forget our many positive attributes:

Dyspraxia Awareness Week Instagram Screenshots: @genuiswithinuk and @bpw_14

Food and Nutrition

Right, its time to have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices. I should warn you, this week I’ve unashamedly indulged in some of my favourite foods, because of my soon to be food limitations and the need to free-up some freezer and cupboard space…

Breakfast:

I really am a sucker for those oat biscuits! – I had these for breakfast four times. I also had a sausage sandwich twice and two bubble and squeak veggie cakes:

Week 51 Breakfasts

Lunch:

For lunch, I had My Typical Salad five times. The remaining days, I ate a Singapore style curry noodle pot and rice crackers with hummus:

Week 51 Lunches

Dinner:

My dinners were a mix of convenience and fresh foods, other than on Monday when I had Mum’s delicious veg curry and dhal, leftover from last week. I enjoyed a vegfurter hot dog and a Shawarma and salad kebab. I had burgers twice, one soya-based with oven fries and salad; the other burger was jackfruit, accompanied by oven potatoes, peas and sweetcorn. And then there were cheesy nachos twice, loaded with plant protein mince, tomato salsa, lettuce and once also with avocado – yum!:

Week 51 Dinners Table
Week 51 Dinners: Clockwise: Pant Kitchen burger, oven chips and salad. Waitrose jackfruit burger, oven potatoes, sweetcorn and peas. Shawarma and salad kebab and corn on the cob. Plant Kitchen mince loaded on cheesy nachos with salsa and lettuce

Snacks:

Well, I ate some chocolate every day, not excessively at least. Also, I worked my way through some chickpea and bean snacks and canned sodas:

Week 51 Snacks

Alcohol

I drank rum with soda on weekend evenings, again, not excessively: four rums on Friday and two on Saturday evening, with half a can of soda per rum:

Week 51 Alcohol

Exercise

I had another one of those weeks with reduced physical activity, totalling 184 minutes, just over three hours. That’s not bad, but not where I’d like to be either – I aim to work on improving this:

Week 51 Exercise. Top: Table. Middle: Walking: Beautiful flowers. Wii informing me about my walking issue – the combo of Dyspraxia and hypermobile ankles and hips doesn’t help. Some strange plant thing. Bottom: Wii compliments – wow!

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Well, my weight stayed the same, but my body fat percentage increased. I’m pleased there was no weight gain at least. I’m in a kind of in-between zone, knowing my diet is going to be incredibly strict soon for at least a couple of months, so I’ve not worried too much about what I eat:

Week 51 Results: Weight, BMI and Body Fat

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Don’t you just love a good story? Well, I do. Now, I’m not guaranteeing a good story, but I decided this week’s What Made Watson Smile would be presented in story-teller style, just for a little change…

Chapter 1: The Stalker Spider:

Once upon a time [that’s how all the best stories start apparently], Katey [that’s me], was sat at her computer, diligently researching, when out of the corner of her eye she noticed a rather large spider walking up her shoulder towards her face. As you can imagine, this was rather a shock for poor Katey, resulting in a squeal, a leap to her feet and flinging the ‘Nana’ shawl, previously wrapped around her shoulders, onto her bed – bad move Katey – now the spider was potentially making itself cosy in her bed! She couldn’t locate it, so all Katey could do was try her best to forget the incident ever happened.

By the next morning, Katey had completely forgotten about the spider incident. But mid showering, she noticed a spider hanging out above her head – she figured it would stay put. Did that spider stay put? No, it did not – it climbed down towards her, so Katey hastily completed her shower and started examining an emerging pimple (how annoying) on her chin. Now, that very same spider decided to exit the shower and amble along the ceiling to position itself above Katey’s head. “Really?” she thought. So, Katey sidled across to the other mirror (this one magnified her spot – nice!) to continue her inspection. Temporarily distracted by her blemish, Katey disregarded the spider, but upon gazing upwards, she saw it was above her head yet again! “Why was this spider stalking her?” she wondered. “Could it be the same spider as last night?”. Of course, she realised this was highly unlikely, but Katey decided it was so and that this spider wanted to be her friend, so she bid Frankie (as he became known) farewell and continued with her day…:

The stalking spider – well not the actual one. (Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay)

Chapter 2: Wii Bully:

Imagine Katey’s surprise at the start of her Wii Fit training session, when Wii asked her how healthy she thought Val [aka Mum] was. Wii even asked Katey if Val looked fatter! Katey thought this rather rude but, responded that Val looked the same. Well, Wii wasn’t believing that for a second and suggested Katey wasn’t paying enough attention – to be fair this could be true, but what a thing to say! Wii continued this awkward discussion with a ‘side note’, informing “that dogs become more motivated when their owners pay more attention to them” – definitely a gearing up to offensive from Wii’s usual passive aggressive self. Was it wrong that Katey sniggered? Yes, probably. Katey knew that at that very moment Val was in the fresh air obtaining her daily exercise playing tennis:

Wii Fit: Bully antics

Chapter 3: Naked Ladies!:

How dramatic one can sound! – It wasn’t in reality. Wednesday was a gloriously sunny morning, so much so that Katey got her arms and legs out to soak up a bit of immune-supporting Vitamin D during the driveway morning coffee – bare legs in October? Yes indeed. Whilst chatting with her parents, Katey watched the frequent bird visitors and gazed at a lovely white butterfly, whilst her Dad noted how good his ‘Naked Ladies’ looked, and Mum mused aloud about her current art project. Katey spent much of her day on the driveway, including a lovely afternoon meet-up with her bestie, Bevy:

Driveway. Clockwise: The driveway and my rather large coffee. My bare legs soaking up some Vitamin D. Butterfly beauty. Dad’s Naked Ladies

Chapter 4: Rainy Mindfulness and a Little Mishap:

Now, by Wednesday evening the clouds rolled in and rain arrived. How quickly the weather can change in Blighty! Thankfully, the previously postponed Mindfulness meet went ahead regardless. Katey prepared sufficiently by wrapping up warm and arming herself with an umbrella, blanket and hot apple and cinnamon tea. Karen’s garden looked welcoming as always, with a beautifully decorated canopy to offer shelter from the rain and gentle lighting. Chrissy led a wonderful mindfulness practice, calming everyone’s minds. Afterwards, the conversation easily flowed. As the evening progressed, the canopy gradually lowered under the rain’s weight. Just as the group were making arrangements to leave, the overhead canopy suddenly collapsed – the wooden peg leg shot out of the ground, over Chrissy’s head (with a small donk), the collected rainwater emptied itself between the gathered friends (a soaking narrowly avoided) and Julie became encased in the canopy sheet and could no longer be seen. Well, you can imagine the surprise and the subsequent giggles. Thankfully, all survived relatively unscathed and headed home to bed in their warm dry homes:

Rainy Mindfulness socialising. Top: The beginning of the evening with intact canopy. Bottom: Me adequately prepared for the rain

The End. Or perhaps not…

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 52
<<<Week 50
Home

References

  1. Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI), 2016. Food Compatibility List.
  2. Dyspraxia Foundation, 2019. Dyspraxia in Adults.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

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

Coming Soon…

Image: Priyam Patel, Pixabay

Home
<<<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
Home

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?.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 49: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

My Inner Mermaid

My sister in school production of Neptune’s Realm, BVI (1984)

Home
<<<Week 48

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

What’s New

I’m pleased to report I’ve felt more positive this week. I’m sleeping six to eight hours a night – a massive improvement on the four hours I was averaging over the past six months. Weirdly, I’ve felt more tired despite the additional sleep – it could be due to intolerance flare-ups, or the CBD oil (more in Week 48) or something else – who knows. I’m just happy to be regaining a healthier sleeping pattern.

I’ve had a few days of intolerance-type reactions with severe sneezing and snot (too much info? Okay, rhinitis sounds better), making me super tired and fuzzy-headed. I haven’t had a chance to research histamine intolerance further (more in Week 48), but I’ll get on it soon, as I really need to find a solution and get this under control.

I’ve applied to the NHS Professionals temp bank for administrative work. I figured it could be a good way to get my foot in the door – if I can just get my foot in the door. My two long-time employments started off as temporary positions – fingers crossed this strategy works here. Until then, I’m working on my continuing professional development and have drawn up a weekly schedule (yes, it’s an Excel spreadsheet – I just love a spreadsheet) to maintain some kind of routine.

Food and Nutrition

Firstly, I should explain I’ve been a bit lax on my nutritional choices, because I’m aware of the looming elimination diet and how restrictive it will be. Ironically, this probably contributed to my rhinitis flare-ups. So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices…

Breakfast:

I used up the last of my frozen  sourdough bread with yeast extract, as I’m aware it will have to be eliminated from my diet soon and I want to make space in the freezer for what I can eat. I had some delicious strawberries – they’ll also be off the list. Other foods included those oat biscuits (twice) and cereal (twice):

Week 49 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I started the week with leftover curry, dhal and rice, but mostly I had salad; My Typical Salad five times and a filled wholegrain pitta once. I’m happy with all these choices, except that I’m back to the rapeseed chilli oil dressing (high in fat, but healthful omega-3 fat rather than saturated fat). My dressing choices are becoming limited, as my favourite balsamic vinegar will be off the list:

Week 49 Lunches

Dinner:

Dinners were often on the stodgy side – I craved stodge – I was hungry. This included a seriously loaded burger in a bun and oven fries, sausage sandwich and a disappointing Mac ‘n Cheez. My healthiest choice was the roasted tahini-coated cauliflower with potatoes, purple carrots and corn on the cob. Other decent meals were Nana’s spaghetti (pic in Week 46) and Shawarma and salad kebab:

Week 49 Dinners

Snacks:

My morning snacking was minimal; I had those oat biscuits once (they’re too tasty), another time some mixed nuts. In the afternoon I had chocolate twice, rice crackers with hummus and a pack of crisps. I snacked most evenings. I was particularly excessive on Wednesday, interestingly the day I struggled most with my intolerances – I ate seaweed puffs, ‘chicken’ slices, hummus, crispy seaweed and half a bar of chocolate. Spread over the rest of the week, I had chocolate, hot cacao, crisps/chips, pear and a falafel with hummus:

Week 49 Snacks

Alcohol

I drank the equivalent of five rum and sodas at the online family Houseparty on Friday night. I think this may have contributed to my rhinitis issues on Saturday:

Week 49 Alcohol

Exercise

I had no energy and lacked motivation for exercise this week, so it was minimal, only 107 minutes, incorporating a 30 minutes gentle swim (oh how I’ve missed swimming) and a 51 minutes stroll. On the up-side it should be easy to report an improvement on activity levels next week. Just to explain, my total walking for the week is 77 minutes, based on my Active 10 App, because it includes my general wanderings at home:

Week 49 Exercise
Some lovely flowers spotted on my walk with Mum

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I wasn’t surprised to have gained weight (1.6 lb, 0.7 kg) and fat (1.1%) this week, given my lack of physical activity and potentially larger portions of the foods I know I’ll miss when I undertake my histamine elimination diet:

Week 49 Results

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Despite only a couple of in person meet-ups outside of my household (with Elise and Bevy), I’ve felt like this was adequate social contact. We also had an online family get-together for my Uncle’s birthday, where I also saw my sister and her boyfriend. Here’s some other examples of my smile-provoking experiences:

Cats in the Pond!:
Okay, I’m being a tad dramatic – they’re patrolling the currently empty pond. It looks like there could be a looming territory battle between Jasper the Friendly Cat, Molly the Disapprover, New Cat and Elusive Cat. Jasper and Molly have already had a loud territory row. My money’s on Jasper – he’s pretty tough and seems to spend the most time there. It’s like my very own wildlife programme, but with cats:

Clockwise: Jasper the Friendly Cat. Molly the Disapprover. Elusive Cat (white and tortoise-shell coat – I’ve not captured a pic yet). New Cat

Bird Feeder Antics:
Meanwhile, a few feet away at the bird feeder… The Starlings are causing havoc! They deterred some of the smaller regular bird visits by swooping in together, taking over the feeder and constantly squabbling with each other. Surprisingly, the Starlings don’t seem bothered when a Pigeon or Dove want to share their dining space – they just like to argue amongst their own family unit:

Clockwise: Long-Tailed and Blue Tits, Starling and Pigeon. Starling and Dove surprisingly eating nicely together from the same tray. The return of the Long-Tailed Tits between the Starling raids. Starling raid

Embracing the Nerd:
Not literally! – I’m back on track with my Nutrition Continuing Professional Development. I’m incredibly grateful MyNutriWeb provide free accredited lectures. Also, they’ve just started a Journal Club – we’ll be discussing peer-reviewed scientific articles – I’m so looking forward to this:

Top: MyNutriWeb lectures attended and my certificates for the past two weeks – both had a strong emphasis on the benefits of plant-based diets for health and the environment. Bottom: Upcoming lectures

The Mermaid in Me:
I absolutely love swimming – I’d forgotten how much, as I’ve not been in a pool for well over a year – I’d become self-conscious about my body and stopped going – somewhat counter-intuitive I know. Elise convinced me to try the outside pool at her leisure centre as her guest. I was anxious about going into a public area but wore my mask (face mask, not snorkelling mask) for the brief amount of time I was inside. It felt amazing being in the pool (surprisingly warm for an outside pool) and I was pleasantly surprised I hadn’t lost too much technique, although it was painful for my right shoulder (it’s been sore for weeks). I can’t wait to get back into swimming again when it eventually feels safe to do so, maybe even setting myself a challenge – another 5km swim perhaps:

Me completing the 2012 Marie Curie Swimathon 5 km (200 lengths) challenge to raise funds for end of life care. It seems I had a turbo-powered advantage here – thanks Harry Jackson for capturing that shot! – he hadn’t actually realised – I was sat at my work desk looking through the photos during my lunch break when I spotted it and dissolved into uncontrollable giggles, pulling my boss out of her office, who found me with tears streaming down my face – she soon joined in

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 50>>>
<<<Week 48
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References

1. British Dietetic Association Food Allergy Specialist Group, 2018. Sensitivity to Histamine and other Vasoactive Amines.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

Health Diary Week 48: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Social Butterfly

Me, ready for a ballet production (1980)

Home
<<<Week 47

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 good week. A big reason is breaking the insomnia cycle – since March, I was surviving on about four hours sleep a night – I should be getting seven to nine hours[1]. I’d considered swapping to a drowsy antihistamine, but I was concerned by dementia claims. NHS Behind the Headlines[2] somewhat eased my mind, but I’m still cautious, having read a more recent study[3]. So, I decided to try CBD oil instead. “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential” (World Health Organization[4]). (N.B. CBD oil can adversely interact with some medications). I chose a company regulated and compliant with EU farms, organically grown, provides lab reports, Vegan Society approved and with good external reviews. The first night I took it, I slept seven hours straight – I couldn’t believe it – finally a decent night’s sleep.

And, I had more social contact – outside, physically distanced, and no more than six of us or online meets. More about this in my ‘What Made Watson Smile’ section.

Also, we had an unexpected return of the Summer – not long ago we were commenting how Autumn had arrived, so it was a wonderful surprise to enjoy the sun and warmth this past week – I’ve spent a lot of time outside.

Other news is I had my first dentist appointment since lockdown. I was nervous about being inside a building that wasn’t my home, but it was okay – I felt quite safe, as it was well ventilated and seemed to have good hygiene procedures. Talking of which, I had a new Hygienist which I was also worried about, but she was lovely and didn’t hurt me at all despite having to use more traditional methods to avoid aerosol concerns. All was well with my teeth and gums – phew!

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:

Hmmm, I need to improve on my breakfasts. There’s no fresh fruit here and I keep reaching for those morning oat biscuits, but I suppose that will all change when I start my histamine elimination diet (more on that in last’s week post). My mixed grain cereal was okay, but I did add a quarter teaspoon of sugar, which I should try to avoid. Also, I had raspberry jam on my sourdough toast, another high sugar food:

Week 48 Breakfasts

Lunch:

As per usual my lunches were mostly salad-based. I omitted the hash browns/falafel from My Typical Salad unless I felt particularly hungry. Once I lunched on a wholegrain pitta, as I was time-limited – it was filled with loads of salad and half a cheese slice. On Sunday, we decided to have curry for lunch – Mum made an aubergine and potato curry, lentil dhal and brown rice that we accompanied with two poppadom each and various chutneys/pickles – delicious:

Week 48 Lunches

Dinner:

Three days in a row I had Vegetable Risotto, with some different veg than usual – I love a risotto. Another day mum made broccoli and cauliflower cheese – we had it with sausages, roast potatoes and carrot (including our homegrown ones). I ended up having the cheesy bake for three days – not a great move because of the high total and saturated fat content from coconut-based cheese. Following the curry lunch, I had a light dinner of a wholegrain pitta with sweet chilli hummus:

Week 48 Dinners

Snacks:

My snacking activity was predominantly post-dinner. Fruit was involved in afternoon snacks a couple of times, compensating a little for lack of breakfast fruit. I had chocolate over five days, but in small quantities, so I’m okay with that. My highlight surprisingly (only because I’m not usually a fan of crumble), was rhubarb and strawberry crumble (thanks Jen; photo in my positivity section), made extra indulgent by having both ice cream and custard – I’ll allow myself this one guilt-free, especially as I declined seconds – go me. But when I got home my parents offered me their leftover chip shop chips (high total and saturated fat) and I accepted – whoops:

Week 48 Snacks

Alcohol

Oh, it was going so well. I had my first beer (gluten-free) in over seven years and thought that would be that. But then we had an unexpected invite for wine in my neighbour’s garden to make the most of the last of the warm evenings. So, of course I accepted. Mum and I trundled round for a very pleasant evening and before we knew it, it was gone midnight and I’d drunk at least ¾ of a bottle of red wine – will I ever learn? But then, I’m very aware that soon I’ll start my low histamine elimination diet, so alcohol (and loads of other stuff) will be off my menu:

Week 48 Alcohol

Exercise

I’m pleased to report I incorporated some form of physical activity each day, including walking (nearing four hours over four days), Wii Fit (over two hours in three days) and exercise biking (a 45 minutes session) – adding up to over six and a half hours – a good hour more than last week:

Week 48 Exercise. Left: I’m hoping I don’t see more discarded masks on my walks. Also, please cut your disposable mask straps after use, so that wildlife don’t get caught up in them. Right: Curious squirrel

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

This week’s results weren’t as successful as I’d hoped for – my weight stayed the same at 165.8 lb (75.2 kg). Admittedly, my body fat increased by 1.3%. I’m not so worried about my results at the moment, because I expect to lose some weight on my histamine elimination diet when most of my favourite foods are removed, some potentially permanently (eek):

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I think we better move on to what made me smile this week, before the thought of eliminating all my favourite foods detracts from my positive mood:

My Mum loves me so much she gave me the last asparagus:
I found one piece of asparagus lurking in the fridge. Mum steamed it up and placed it on my lunch plate as a little surprise. I see it like offering someone your last Rolo – we love asparagus in this household:

Wii Fit was Nice (to me):
I thought I should share Wii Fit’s nice side since I’ve previously mentioned its passive aggressive nature (Week 42 and Week 46). Of course, it still has its moments – most recently towards Mum, sneakily informing me she hadn’t trained for a while – to be fair, she was actually at tennis. Oh, and I was 24, my youngest yet on Wii Fit, just for one glorious day:

All going well balance-wise on ‘Yoga’ – it’s a different story on the ‘Balance’ exercises section

Some Wii Fit Personal Bests:
This week I achieved a few personal bests on the Wii Fit, including Balance. I completed Balance Bubble (beginner level) with the highest user ranking and I achieved the most spins on Super Hula Hoop (10 minutes). They may be small wins, but they’re wins nonetheless, so I’ll happily take them:

Top: Super Hula Hoop – I love how my Mum and sister are always hula hooping with me. Bottom: I’m still an amateur, but I completed the level, so I’m proud of myself

Homegrown Stumpy Carrots:
We were surprised the carrots from a ‘M&S Little Garden Seeding Pot’ grew, albeit they were rather stumpy, but tasted good – nicely flavoursome. Good going Dad:

Top right: Carrot haul. Left: Growing carrots in the garden during the Summer. Bottom: The M&S pots in the kitchen during Spring

Driveway Bird Feeder Antics (Continued):
Dad had to reinforce the bird feeder, because it’s taken such a battering from the heavier birds (lolloping pigeons and squabbling Starlings) and potentially other creatures. Sadly, we don’t see the Long-tailed or Blue Tits so often, possibly due to those pesky Starlings. Mummy Bird visits us less often too, sometimes she just flies down to say ‘hi’ and then disappears off again without eating. The pigeons love the new ‘perch’ and eat nicely together at the lower feeding station, completely oblivious to the squabbles above:

Who’s a Social Butterfly? Me, yes me!:
It’s been a wonderful week of catching up with people (physically distanced and outside), Bevy and Harry, Jen and co. and a last-minute invite to Elise and Mike’s garden to make the most of the last of the warm evenings. And, earlier in the week, I had a lovely catch-up with Claudia online:

Left: Bevy, in real-life – yay! It was sunny and we were lacking shade, so I suggested Bevy bring a hat – she wore it well. So, I thought it only fair to share a photo of Claudia and I wearing hats too – they were made for us by our Peruvian host family during our South American travels (2008)
Jen’s first ‘Crumble Connections’ meet-up – I really needed this – I mean the social connection, not specifically the crumble, although I have to say, Jen made an absolutely delicious rhubarb and strawberry crumble. There were five of us in the garden. (Photos by Jen, except the last one, that was mine)

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 49
<<<Week 47
Home

References

1. Sleep Foundation, 2020.How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? [online]. Available from: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need.
2. NHS Behind the Headlines, 2015. Media dementia scare over hay fever and sleep drugs [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/news/medication/media-dementia-scare-over-hay-fever-and-sleep-drugs/.
3. . Coupland, C. A. C, Hill, T., Dening, T., Morriss, R., Moore, M. and Hippisley-Cox, J., 2019. Anticholinergic Drug Exposure and the Risk of Dementia – A Nested Case-Control Study. JAMA Internal Medicine [online], 179 (8), 1084-1093. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2736353.
4. World Health Organisation, 2018. Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report [online]. Available from: www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

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

The Human Yo-Yo

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay

Home
<<<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.

>>>Week 48
<<<Week 46
Home

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/.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate: