Monday, 18 June 2012

Dietary Requirements

Considering it's one of my favourite subjects in life, I haven't really ever written about food - not unless you count my random entry concerning the great baked bean scandal.

Since moving out over ten months ago, the food I eat has been almost completely down to Stacey and me. Some meals that are featured regularly back at my family's home still make regular appearances in my culinary week still, whereas others don't. And, some newbies have been introduced to me over the course of the better part of the past year.

It was last month that Stacey read an article that ranked people's health in terms of their eating category. Vegans were surprisingly the worst off, making that choice of diet even more pointless than it already was (someone should really tell vegans that some plants have been recorded as actually producing screams that go undetected to the human ear when they're pulled from the ground). Next up, but not too much better were the meat-eaters (that's most of us then). Meat-eaters were followed by the Vegetarians, of which Stacey is one, hence telling me about the article. And on top were Pescatarians, a.k.a. those who don't eat meat, but still eat fish (often falsely claiming to be vegetarian, despite the very word alluding to the fact that you should only be eating veg). Not too far behind the Pescatarians were apparently those who largely ate veggies and fish, with meat only on rare occasions. 'Well' I thought to myself, 'if cutting back on the meat and replacing it with fish - which I've always loved - would make me that much better off, why not give it a try?' So that's exactly what I've been doing for coming up for a month now.

I've had meat about once a week over the past three and a half weeks. Other than the odd night where we've still had some sausages in the freezer that could do with using up, or when we've been somewhere else for dinner, I've done pretty well to stick to vegetarian options and fish-based meals. I'm not sure just yet whether I feel healthier in body - it's only been a few weeks after all - but there has been one noticeable difference...

I feel more switched on. I only realised late last week, but I've been more focused at work. Things just seem to have clicked. Some of it may have to do with the fact that I've now settled in having been there for half a year, but I definitely feels as if I'm concentrating more than I was and I'm also taking things on board even more than before. It didn't take long for me to connect the dots and realise that I've been eating a lot more fish which is generally thought of as 'brain-food', hence the reason for my mind working at a better rate. Maybe it's a little bit of psychologically instilled confidence too, as I'm thinking about my eating more fish, thinking that it's all brain-food, thus my brain tricks itself into giving me more focus in my work and life. I feel it's a bit of both though, which is no bad thing and something I'm going to keep track of as the diet continues.

(not so) Spoilt for Choice

One thing I have noticed when eating out over the past few weeks is the lack of choice for Pescatarians. I always thought that Stacey had it rough; only being able to select dishes with a little green V next to them on the menu. But I've noticed that the fish selection is pretty dire on many menus. Now to be fair, I suppose Pescatarians can include the veggie meals to their options, but if you were out and wanted to take full advantage of your choice to be able to eat fish, you're pretty much limited to Cod 'n' Chips, Prawns, or Salmon in a lot of places. 

Thankfully I've looked at the menu for the restaurant we're off to on Wednesday night - for the celebration of my parents' anniversary and the anniversary of my surviving yet another trip around the sun - and that I cannot wait to tuck into my starter of either Whitebait or Anchovies and my main of a steak of Swordfish. Yum!

Since taking up this eating regime, I have realised just how much choice there can be though. Scouring the Supermarkets and ignoring the usual array of burgers, sausages and mince, I've bought and eaten Salmon, Kippers and Mackerel for my dinners, among others. 

Consuming Blogs

Food has also been in the news again in the last week, and no I'm not talking about the fact that the ratio of obese Americans in the world is ridiculously big, but in the form of a blog. The news story that grabbed my attention on Friday was of the nine year old who got into trouble with her local council over the fact that her blog - which reported on and reviewed her school dinners - was picked up on by the mass-media who of course being the press we all know and love turned it into something nasty by calling for the dinnerladies to be sacked. Fact is that if you read this girl's blog, it's really very good. She even scores her meals on 'Number of Hairs Found' - thankfully none so far! The insanity didn't last long and the girl was allowed to continue. I recommend a read of it here.

I had more to discuss, but as it turns out, I can write and write and write on this subject and I quite fancy going to bed at this time as it's getting late on a school-night. All I really had left to discuss was that one of the girls at  work is on some sort of protein-only diet to lose weight quickly. It sounds to me like that Atkins diet from about a decade ago, but apparently it's not... despite applying the same principles. All I know is, if I were to start eating a lot of meat again, I'd rather do it in style:

Best show on Dave - A true American Hero!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Diamonds Are Forever

With the Queen celebrating her Diamond Jubilee we've all been granted an extra long bank-holiday weekend. God Save Her!

This past Friday night was one for celebration as everyone with a Monday to Friday job was super-excited about the four days in a row off that we had ahead of us. After finishing work, a few of the work lot were out for some drinks in the Wells - and all the drinks were paid for by the company. Suffice to say it was an excellent way to bid farewell to the colleagues for a double-length weekend.

I got drunk, but not as drunk as I had on a similar night back in December when I first met my colleagues - that night I'd not known when to say no and had finished my night at home with my head in the toilet bowl. This time I even managed to navigate my way home on the train.

It's Still Real to Them

On Saturday night a group of us went to a wrestling show at a small local venue. Needless to say the phrase 'cheap n cheerful' sums it up. We had seats in the front row and the place was actually packed out with nearly everyone there to have a good time and quite a few families there to take in some great family entertainment. Now, in the last sentence you may have noticed that I used the term nearly everyone as opposed to everyone, this is because of the family that sat themselves down directly behind us. I've never seen the show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding before, but I imagine that if I tuned in, I'd likely see that family. They were awful, vile and... to be fair they were passionate. The problem was that they seemed to think it was real and as such used the two brain cells that the six or seven of them had between them to shout some disgusting and at times not-well-thought-out chants and insults at the wrestlers. After just the first match the ring announcer had to plea that although it was good that there was noise being made, that it be kept clean. Other chav-highlights included them telling an Australian wrestler to get out of our country, to which the Aussie replied stating that he couldn't wait; calling a wrestler a chicken for reaching the ropes to break a submission to which the wrestlers both stopped so that he could shout back to them that 'It's the rules... Spastic!'; and one wrestler actually leaning over our row to push one of them over and back into his seat to a big cheer. 

I would be lying if I said that the gypos weren't at all entertaining in their own way, I just wish that they could learn to say it and not spray it. When we left, all of us felt as if we'd had a saliva shower. Thankfully it was raining as we made our exit, so we let the rain wash our hair of some of the spit that we'd all felt land on our heads during the show.

At this time I'd also like to mention that the wrestling itself was at times pretty entertaining and for the small price of admission was definitely worth it. One particular accidental highlight was during the main event when one wrestler asked someone at the end of one of the front rows (not ours) to stand so that he could grab the chair to use. It wasn't apparent that the chairs were all connected, so when the brute attempted to wield the chair, he caused the whole row of people to go flying from their seats!  He didn't stop there, as determined to use this chair, he kept tugging on it until the whole row had been pulled halfway around the ring. He eventually gave up after it looked like he'd completely broken it. 

Oh, and there was a big fat guy there and his name was 'Hugh Mungus' - you just can't make this stuff up... well actually I guess you can, but still it was funny!


Stacey and myself had a pretty busy yesterday (Sunday). We began with lunch - after a lazy morning, which I guess means we didn't have a busy day so much as a busy afternoon/evening. Sorry I lied - at  my parents' house. We then took the sister to Wear 'em Out where I probably had more fun as I signed a disclaimer so that I could go down the drop-slide. It was mega-fun.
We then moved on to a Jubilee party hosted at the Fenner household. The place was very overcrowded.... with food. There were a lot of people there too and we carried on watching the Queen ride her boat down a polluted river in the rain - very British!

Following the Fenner's we moved on to a fortieth birthday - Happy Birthday to Nigel if he's reading - which was James Bond themed; an idea that Stacey and I plan to rip-off one day. It was brilliant as there were Blackjack and Roulette tables where you could gamble away your fake $100 given upon arrival. The music was all Bond-related for the first hour or so and all night long there were clips of different Bond movies playing on a big screen above the DJ. For a Bond fan such as myself, it was completely awesome. It was also pretty amusing at one point to see a load of women on dancefloor and then to turn around and see a group of men with their mouths open and eyes transfixed to the screen watching car chases, gunfights and explosions.

Winter Already?

Today (Monday), Stacey and I went off to see my second cousin Phil and his family. We caught up for the first time this year at their house for a bit, then went off to watch some fireworks in the village of Matfield. We got to the green where the display was taking place and soon found that we had a three to four hour wait for the fireworks with no other entertainment in the meantime. Rather than stand in an unseasonably cold (for June) field, we decided to head off and grab a meal at Frankie and Benny's. Phil, who had been working, met us there. When finished, we went back over to the firework display which was a pretty good spectacle for a freebie, even if there was nothing else to do in the field.  With it being so cold for this time of year though, watching fireworks just made it feel even less like Summer and more like it could be Autumn. After the lovely weather we had a week ago giving us a taste of summer, I'm really hoping that Summer hasn't completely passed us by already. Here's hoping for some more good weather before the leaves turn orange and brown. 

I feel like I could keep on typing away here, but it's already gone 1am... I should probably get to bed to make the most of the last day of this big weekend. Night all!