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

Real Meals: Week 2 Histamine Elimination Diet

Butternut Squash Risotto

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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 51: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Once Upon a Time… in Watson World

Open Book Landscape Scene: Mystic Art Design, Pixabay

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<<<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>>>
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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)

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<<<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
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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 46: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

A Difficult Week

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<<<Week 45

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 an emotionally tough week, thankfully not due to anything major, more a combination of little factors. For example, I was sad about missing out on some social events, because of my cautious (some might say overly) approach. So, I just want to take the time here to say, if you’re feeling sad or lonely, please consider reaching out to someone; even a support organisation like the Samaritans[1]; there’s also helpful suggestions via NHS[2]. I reached out to several friends whom I hadn’t been in contact with for a while and I’m feeling more positive again now.

Also, I had my first online meet-up with a group of Nutritionists and Dieticians – we discussed continuing professional development for our accreditations (for me, Association for Nutrition[3]). The meeting was really motivating to get back on track and I’m looking forward to our Journal Club, where we discuss scientific articles to keep updated on the latest research.

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 nutritional benefit…

Breakfast:

I ate breakfast every day this week. I’m pleased to report I consumed fruit three times. I had some garlic mushrooms with toast at the start of the week. Twice I had peanut butter and raspberry jam on toast. Then there was my one slightly weird start to the day of leftover cauliflower soup (Week 45) – it needed using and it was too good to go to waste. I have to say, this soup was filling, and I didn’t eat again until lunch, so it actually worked out pretty well:

Week 46 Breakfasts

Lunch:

There was some form of salad every day, except Sunday when I had leftover ‘Nana’s spaghetti’, veganised and gluten-free of course. I think Nana invented this meal when trying to make ends-meet: spaghetti, cabbage, bacon (replaced by THIS Isn’t Bacon) and egg (replaced by scrambled tofu) in a tomato sauce – although we’d run out of tofu for this portion. I also had My Typical Salad three times, a Shawarma kebab and a pitta with ‘ham’ slices and crammed full with salad:

Week 46 Lunches

Dinner:

Dinners included leftover risotto with a teaspoon of mayo twice, once with a burger and corn on the cob (both somewhat charred from last week’s barbecue). I also enjoyed leftover vegetable curry, dhal and rice. Then there was ‘Nana’s spaghetti’, once with the scrambled tofu – I love this meal. Once we had a sausage sandwich with a cheese slice – the cheese wasn’t really necessary – I added it as the pack was open. On Sunday, we tried out the new M&S Plant Kitchen burger and we decided we’d buy it again, especially if having a barbecue, as it should hold together well. Nutritionally[4], the burger was in the acceptable range for total fat, saturated fat and salt, low in sugars and a source of fibre[5]. The burger was accompanied by my spice coated oven-cooked potatoes and side salad (further details in the table):

Week 46 Dinners

Snacks:

My snacking activity seems acceptable. There was a little chocolate, some crisp-like snacks (rice crackers, popped lotus seeds, seaweed puffs, potato chips) and a pitta bread with hummus. The snack highest in total fat, saturated fat and sugars was the salted caramel chocolate cheesecake – I do not regret it at all, as other indulgences were pretty minimal:

Week 46 Snacks

Alcohol

I didn’t have any alcohol this week following my ridiculous binge last Saturday. I suspect last week’s booze session didn’t help my mental wellbeing[6], so I intend to be more mindful about that in future. Plus, I think the excess alcohol may have caused my body to become inflamed[7] as I experienced some chest and joint discomfort throughout the week – it’s improved now.

Exercise

My physical activity was 35 minutes less than last week, but a bit more varied. As well as the usual walks, I did two WiiFit exercise sessions (76 minutes) and 30 minutes on the exercise bike. I’ll admit I only used the bike on Sunday, because I remembered promising I’d do it in last week’s post. It was a tough half hour, so I need to do more to build myself up again – there, I’ve said it, so I’ll feel I need to do it now:

Week 46 Exercise

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I’m flabbergasted! I lost 5 lb (2.3 kg) weight in a week – I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, except for the time I did a fast, but that doesn’t count as I didn’t eat anything. So, I lost all the weight gained last week, plus a little extra. Also, my fat results moved in the right direction, dropping 1.3% fat since Week 45. I think it could be related to my emotional state (I tend to eat less when I feel a bit down) and having an alcohol-free week (it really does seem to make a difference):

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

I was pleasantly surprised there were plenty of smile-provoking experiences this week. I’m really glad I introduced this section during Lockdown, because it makes me appreciate the positive occurrences, as small and easily missed, some of them can be.

Catching up with Friends in Real-Life:
My highlight has to be meeting up with Tina and her daughter Eloise. It was just what I needed – a girly catch up, sitting in the garden, enjoying the sunshine:

Eloise and Tina, Brighton Pride (2019)

Nana’s Spaghetti and Dad Ate Scrambled Tofu:
Nana’ spaghetti brings back happy memories of the family (Aunts, Uncles and cousins) squished around a little table at my grandparents’ house. I’m so happy that we’ve developed a plant-based, gluten-free version. Most surprisingly, my Dad ate my scrambled tofu and went back for seconds. Pre-lockdown Dad was anti-tofu, so we’d kept it separate, but he reluctantly added it to his spaghetti and was clearly okay with it – result! Hmmm, except, I have to share it now, so fewer leftovers for me:

Passive Aggressive WiiFit Strikes Again:
I was pleased with myself for using Wii Fit twice this week. On my second visit, I was amused there was a return of the passive aggression (last time was Week 42), because I’d missed a day. And even before the weigh-in, I was reminded to go easy on the snacks. Cheeky WiiFit!:

More Tiny Beauty:
I love the camera on my new(ish) phone – I can capture intricate details of nature close-up. So, I’ve taken advantage of this. Here’s some from afar and then close-up pics:

It’s All in the Eyes:
I took a selfie whilst sat in the park during a walking break. Later, when reviewing my photos, I zoomed in to get a closer look at my mis-behaving eyebrows, when I noticed how clearly myself, phone and the scene were reflected in my eyes:

Mysterious Cats on Road Signs:
During one of my walks, I noticed cats on road signs – how cute, I thought! I was curious about whether this was a new local council thing or something else. My brief internet search found this was also occurring in Kent (about 100 miles away from here) and was a mystery to them. Kent Online hypothesised the stickers were due to either: cat lover(s) spreading the love, superstitious luck, highlighting frequent cat crossings or perhaps marking the loss of a beloved cat companion (I hope not) – who knows?:

Top: The cats I spotted on road signs. Bottom: Kent Online news report article

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about what made you smile recently.

>>>Week 47
<<<Week 45
Home

References

1. Samaritans, 2020. Contact a Samaritan [online]. Available from: www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/.
2. National Health Service, 2019. Feeling lonely [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/feeling-lonely/.
3. Association for Nutrition, 2020. Welcome to the Association for Nutrition [online]. Available from: www.associationfornutrition.org/.
4. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Helping you eat well: Looking at labels. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/324-labels.html?start=3.
5. European Commission, Ca. 2019. Nutrition claims [online]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/nutrition_claims_en.
6. Drinkaware, 2020. Alcohol and mental health [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-mental-health.
7. McMahan, R. H., Afshar, M., Amedee, A. M., Bishehsari, F., Carr, R. M., Coleman, L. G., Herrnreiter, C. J., Lewis, S. L., Mandrekar, P., McCullough, R. Morris, N. L., Vasiliou, V., Wang, H. J., Yeligar, S. M., Choudhry, M. A. and Kovacs, E. J. 2020. Summary of the 2019 alcohol and immunology research interest group (AIRIG) meeting: Alcohol-mediated mechanisms of multiple organ injury.  Alcohol [online], 46 (2), 147-153. Alcohol [online], 87, 89-95. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2020.04.008.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

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

The Family Reunion

Family day out, Brighton & Hove (2015)

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<<<Week 44

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

What’s New

Firstly, apologies for the late post – I was super tired after a busy weekend requiring extra thoughtfulness about acting safely (on top of my usual trying not to be clumsy) and I had loads of extra photos to sort through, culminating in a day’s delay.

The Bank Holiday weekend was busy, because excitingly we met up with my sister and her boyfriend in real-life – we last saw Emma and Carl at Christmas. It felt weird having to carefully plan meeting up with family: I walked with Em and Carl to-and-from the train station – Mum met us at the station with the car and they put their luggage in the boot. They set up camp in our garden and were allocated the downstairs cloakroom via a specific route. We socialised outside, sitting opposite ends of the table and served food plated-up (we’re usually a help-yourself kind of family) or provided separate serving dishes and utensils. And it felt strange not being able to hug, but we’ll take what we can get at the moment. It was still a lovely weekend:

Food and Nutrition

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

Breakfast:

I skipped breakfast three times this week, grabbed those easy go-to biscuits once, sampled one of Mum’s peanut butter cookies and had cereal. Sunday breakfast was excessive – I had a massive hangover (I’m ashamed to admit I was sick – twice), so I grabbed crisps/potato chips trying to settle the nausea. Later I nibbled at some fruit and when I felt less delicate, I enjoyed guacamole on toast topped with ‘bacon’, tomato and red onion. Oh, and then I sampled Mum’s rhubarb jam on a slice of toast too – very tasty, but unnecessary:

Week 45 Breakfasts
I only ate one of those cookies

Lunch:

We had My Typical Salad four times, either with hash browns, falafel or Indian bites. Another day I had a salad filled pitta bread with ‘ham’ slices. Highlights were Mum’s cauliflower and almond soup (my favourite soup ever) and creamy curried gnocchi at Offbeet to utilise the ‘eat out to help out’ half price offer:

Week 45 Lunches

Dinner:

Mmm, a delicious variety of dinners – I don’t think I could pick a highlight. I had leftover veg spaghetti with garlic bread (Week 44), mince tacos, Mexican rice, chia nuggets with chips/fries and baked beans, veg risotto, veg curry, dhal and rice and our first (and probably only) barbecue of the year (burger, chipolata sausages and veg skewer) – yum!:

Week 45 Dinners

Snacks:

I snacked a fair amount. I had a hangover appetite on Sunday, resulting in loads of extra consumption. At least some options were healthy – griddled Padron peppers (I got my first ever chilli-hot one!) and asparagus. The ‘bacon’ sandwich earlier in the week was excessive – I could easily have halved it and still felt satisfied. My least healthy choice has to be the salted caramel cheesecake (although it tasted so good) – but high in coconut-based[1] saturated fat[2]. The other indulgence was a barbecued rum sozzled banana with cream (yet more fat):

Week 45 Snacks

Alcohol

Too much alcohol – waayyyy too much! On Friday, I drank three spiced rums with cola when chatting to a friend online. But Saturday night was ridiculous – I guess I got overly excited about Em and Carl visiting. I drank a whole bottle of red wine without really noticing (that’s over 600 calories according to Drinkaware[3]), plus a double salted caramel vodka liqueur and (I think) a double spiced rum. I’m not proud of myself – excess alcohol is damaging to health[4], as well as being highly calorific:

Week 45 Alcohol
Left: Saturday night’s Drinkaware calculation. Right: That red wine

Exercise

I’m pleased I more than doubled my activity compared to last week – 405 minutes versus 167 minutes. Mostly, I walked: 380 minutes (6.3 hours), with 244 minutes (4 hours) brisk. I squeezed in a 25 minutes Wii Fit aerobics session of Step, Rhythm Boxing and Hula Hoop. Next week I hope to report more Wii Fit and some exercise biking, as well as walking:

Week 45 Exercise
Left: Carl & Em admiring an Oak tree. Right: My week’s Active 10 walks

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I was expecting a weight and fat increase when I stepped on the scales Monday morning, but not 4 lb (1.8 kg) extra weight – I don’t think I’ve gained that much in one week before! So, I’m temporarily back to being classified as obese with a BMI[5] of 30.1 – Noooo! Clearly all those additional calories, particularly the alcohol negatively affected my results. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a sneaky extra weigh-in again on Tuesday morning – as I suspected and with great relief, I’d already lost 2 lb, taking me back to overweight status, but still dangerously close to obese. Clearly, I need to avoid creeping back to my starting point. But despite these results, as I said before, I’m feeling healthier than I did back in November when I first decided to take control:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Okay, definitely time to move on to some smile-provoking experiences, after all mental wellbeing is incredibly important to overall health status. Hmmm, where to start? – there were so many…

Imaginary Katey:
My friends’ son pretended he was playing with me – melt my heart why don’t you:

I almost look like I could be imaginary in this pic of me sat outside in the dark

Socialising in real-life:
Obviously, a biggie was seeing my sister and her boyfriend. The bonus was having a catch-up with my sister’s friend as well:

Candlelit Alfresco Dining:
Don’t you just love a candlelit alfresco dining experience? Well, I do. It was rather chilly in the evenings though – I was a bit envious of Em & Carl’s onesies and Mum was toasty in her poncho, so I wrapped myself up in a big cosy blanket:

The Umbrella Incident:
We put the umbrella up so that we could see each other with less obstruction, but then the wind came and the umbrella started launching itself towards the kitchen window. Thankfully, we caught it before the situation became disastrous and Mum secured the sides with string to aid visibility – proper Nana-ism – my Nana was known for quick-fixes with masking tape or string:

Impressive storm clouds:
I’ve spent a fair amount of time gazing up at the sky recently and noticing the cloud impressiveness, especially when a storm’s brewing:

Top: watching the clouds roll in before the heavy rainstorm. Bottom left: Offbeet lunch in Pyramid Field. Right: Moon peaking through dark dusk clouds.

Silly Pigeon:
This particular pigeon makes us all chuckle – just lolloping around. Give Mr (or Mrs) Pigeon their due – the first to brave the new daffodil bird feeder – we’d been trying to lure birds with the fat ball. Later, we were concerned when we saw him lying in the heavy downpour with an odd wing angle, until he switched sides and we realised he was just bathing and seemingly thoroughly enjoying himself:

Clockwise: Decisions, decisions – should I sample that new daffodil food thing? Yes, mmm, yum yum. I’m the ‘King of the Castle’. Shower-time. Water bowl incident – whoops.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Thank you for reading and feel free to follow my bite-size journey updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up. In the meantime, I’d love you to share what made you smile recently in the comments section.

>>>Week 46
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References

1. British Nutrition Foundation, 2020. BNF answers some common questions on coconut oil [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/article/998/BNF%20FAQs%20Coconut%20Oil%202020.pdf.
2. NHS Eatwell, 2020. Fat: the facts [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/different-fats-nutrition/.
3. Drinkaware, 2019. Unit & Calorie Calculator [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator.
4. Drinkaware, 2020. Health effects of alcohol [online]. Available from: www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/health-effects-of-alcohol.
5. NHS Live Well, 2018. Healthy weight: BMI healthy weight calculator [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/.

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

My Holiday at Home

My Dad on holiday at my Aunt & Uncle’s home (2020)

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, focusing on what I ate, my health report and some positive smile-provoking experiences.

What’s New

I’m on holiday! Our 14-days quarantine ended, and my parents left to visit my Aunt and Uncle for a week, so I had my own holiday at home. I didn’t get to socialise in person as much as I had hoped, but it was wonderful, nonetheless.

Food and Nutrition

I didn’t keep a completely accurate diary this week – I maintained it until Thursday evening, the rest is recall with the help of some photos. I felt like I needed a few days’ break from tracking and that’s completely okay.

Breakfast:

My favourite breakfasts were a THIS isn’t bacon sandwich and my scrambled tofu with mushrooms on toast. Other than that, I kept it simple, indulging in Mum’s carrot cake muffins, oat biscuits or toast:

Week 43 Breakfasts

Lunch:

I had My typical salad once – it didn’t seem worthwhile preparing it the rest of the week without my parents around. Instead, I made up a big batch of pasta salad and it was lovely. I was a bit concerned about the high fat mayo-base, but I was on holiday, right? I also had a rather tasty potato bowl – warmed steamed potatoes with red onion, sundried tomatoes, red pepper, hummus and a drizzle of Thai chilli sauce. My biggest lunch success has to be my ‘not egg mayo’ sandwich made with a mix of silken and firm tofu – I’ll definitely be making that again:

Week 43 Lunches

Dinner:

I did very little cooking during the week, keeping to more convenience type food – baked potato with cheese and beans, pre-cooked rice topped with tomato, avocado and red onion, microwaveable Thai red curry and a sauxsage roll. I made more of an effort at the weekend; my highlights were chilli nachos and vegetable spaghetti with garlic bread – yum!:

Week 43 Dinners

Snacks:

I snacked a lot! It felt like I ate loads of chocolate and crisps, including my favourite, Booja Booja chocolate, and Eat Real chilli and lime quinoa chips:

Week 43 Snacks

Alcohol

I drank every day from Tuesday through to Sunday – sooo much rum and some wine too. Having said that, probably not as much booze had I been on an all-inclusive holiday, so it could have been worse.

Exercise

I ensured I took some exercise each day until the weekend, as I wasn’t expecting to do much then. I completed 30 minutes exercise biking, 45 minutes Wii Fit and 226 minutes walking. It was lovely getting out for a stroll during the week, but it was super-hot. I was happy I was more physically active than last week (122 minutes/2 hours more), totalling 301 minutes (5 hours):

Week 43 Exercise
Tuesday’s very hot walk!

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

I was completely flabbergasted, but very happy, to discover my weight stayed the same (166.2 lb / 75.4 kg), because I felt like I completely indulged and didn’t pay much attention to my food choices whilst holidaying. Perhaps, subconsciously I was being more careful than I’d realised. My fat percentage increased a bit, but that does tend to fluctuate more:

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Welcome back to my positivity section, although to be fair, I think most of this post has felt pretty positive…

Fish Doll – yep, that’s what I said:
Continuing on with the mango stone doll theme from Week 41 (Mango man) and Week 42 (Two-faced doll), my Mum’s next creation was a cute fish. I initially thought it was a hedgehog – oops, sorry Mum, but yes, definitely a fish:

Real-Life Hedgehog:
Talking about hedgehogs, I haven’t seen a hedgehog in years – I remember a time, several years ago, when I used to see them frequently during the summer. Imagine my joyful surprise when I spotted one strolling past the kitchen door late one night:

Image: TSA01, Pixabay

Friends:
Chud, dropped by for a chat and cuppa. I was extra delighted that he brought me some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden:

A rather tipsy Chud & I at my ‘Hat party’ (2009)

Extreme Physical Distancing:
It was so lovely to meet up with former work friends, Karen and Rachel. It was a blazing hot day, so we were trying to avoid being blasted by the sun, whilst remaining physically distanced. The end result was sitting rather far apart, which made me chuckle, so I took a snapshot from where I was sat in the shade:

Mum, sorry I didn’t take the clothes line down

Meteor Shower:
On Tuesday afternoon I was looking up and saw a movement across the sky. It was probably just a plane, but it reminded me the Perseids meteor shower was due. So, late that night, I sat outside for ages looking up at the sky. I couldn’t decide whether my eyes were tricking me, but I clearly saw one meteor. I awoke early on Wednesday, so I sat outside again for a while. It was so peaceful just staring up at the stars, not that you can see much from my photos, but trust me, it was beautiful:  

Walk and Wine:
Elise (my neighbour) and I went for an early evening stroll. We met up later for a tipple (wine) on my driveway and then moved across to her garden to join the rest of her family. It was so lovely sat chatting with everyone:

What’s My Age?:
It turns out that it’s not only Wii Fit that thinks I’m younger than my actual age (44). Elise’s kids (aged 18 and 20) seemed genuinely surprised I wasn’t in my mid-30’s. Obviously this made me smile (a lot):

The Weird Sunset:
On Wednesday evening, I decided to relax in the garden with a ‘sundowner’ rum and ginger beer. Imagine my delight when I witnessed the progression of this odd, but beautiful sunset:

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

>>>Week 44
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Health Diary Week 41: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

I Spy with My Little Eye…

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

What’s New

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

Food and Nutrition

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

Breakfast:

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

Week 41 Breakfasts

Lunch:

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

Week 41 Lunches

Dinner:

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

Week 41 Dinners

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

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

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

Snacks:

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

Week 41 Snacks

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

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

Alcohol

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

Exercise

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

Week 41 Exercise
Image: 16061941, Pixabay

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

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

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Personal Bests

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<<<Week 39

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

Food and Nutrition

Breakfast:

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

Week 40 Breakfasts

Lunch:

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

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

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

Dinner:

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

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

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

Week 40 Dinners

Snacks:

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

Week 40 Snacks

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

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

Alcohol

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

Week 40 Alcohol
Image: Drinkaware

Exercise

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

Week 40 Exercise
Active 10 walks

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

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

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

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

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mummy Bird feeding Baby Bird


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

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

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

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

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

Elise during our stroll in a park

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

>>>Week 41
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