The Health(ier) Week

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My name is Claire and I’m a foodaholic. I don’t count calories or worry about cholesterol. I’m not fat, but I am unhealthy. So I made a meal plan for a whole week and did a big shop (the healthiest I’ve ever done for only £25) to see if I could manage a controlled diet. Even if I only manage a week it’s an achievement!

Before you read any further, however, have a disclaimer:

If you have come here for inspiration, you’re probably in the wrong place. I am not an expert dietitian. I am not a hippy, pro-vegan, Instagram perfectionist. My idea of healthy might not even technically be healthy. Many of my meals are likely to go horribly wrong and look shit, so if you try and hate them, it’s your own fault.

This might well be the most boring thing you’ve read today. I am literally writing about what I’ve eaten for the past week. But it’s a break from Donald Trump stories, so give it a go.

Now, with that out of the way:

 

Day One – Testing the Water

Breakfast: Greek yoghurt and honey with crumbled walnuts
Lunch: Ham salad pita, peanut butter and banana smoothie
Dinner:
Spinach and Feta Pie with mashed potatoes and veg


I’d considered getting a Nutribullet, but the £69.99 pricetag was making me wait. I ended up buying a Magic Bullet blender on a whim from Wilkos for £17.50; ever so slightly cheaper!  After a quick Google in the shop I saw reviews concluding that both were good, so I risked it. I am so glad I did.

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, chopped
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of peanut butter (depending on how much you like it)
  • 2 spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream (the dirty cheap stuff)
  • a generous amount of milk
  1. Shove it all in the blender and blend the living peanut out of it!
  2. If yours comes out as thick as chewed gum like mine did first time round, add more milk.

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Spinach and Feta Pie:

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe from his book 30 Minute Meals which I bought recently from WHSmith for £6 (bargain).

However, me being me, when I discovered a bag of pine nuts was going to cost over £3, I scoffed and decided the walnut halves in my cupboard would suffice. Then, forgetting to cut the recipe down from four people to two, I used the specified five eggs with less feta and spinach than I was supposed to.

I’d also never worked with filo before. Absolute nightmare. Needless to say, the end result looked pretty, but tasted pretty odd:

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Part of my meal plan was to have tzatziki and pita bread for lunch, but evidently everyone else thought this was a great idea too, and thus the great Tesco Tzatziki Depression began. So I made my own before bed. Fried off some chicken too. What a champion.

Overall today went okay. Obviously the pie could have gone better; it tasted a bit weird and I’m not the biggest fan of quiche anyway (it was totally a fancy quiche). Feeling optimistic about the week though!


 

Day Two – Back to Work

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cornflakes
Second Breakfast:
Leftover peanut butter smoothie and 9Bar
Lunch:
Chicken and tzatziki pita bread
Dinner:
Lime, chilli and ginger salmon with fresh veg


Don’t judge me for having two breakfasts; I get up at six and don’t have second breakfast til 10, it’s perfectly justifiable.

Today I found myself really looking forward to lunch – and not just for the break from work. These past two days I’ve actually been excited by my lunch options, rather than depressed by my bleak ham sandwich. I did stink of garlic all day though. But I didn’t really feel hungry afterwards, which is rare for me!

tzats

However, on the way home I did pass Burger King and McDonalds, and both made my tastebuds long for salty chips burning my tongue, fatty beef torn between my teeth. I was so tempted. But I stayed good.

I stopped off for a couple of drinks after work for a friend’s birthday, but I had them with cranberry juice, so that’s sort of healthy… right?

By the time I got home it was nine o’clock, so I made a quick meal with lime, chilli and ginger baked salmon with steamed vegetables and sour cream sweet potato mash. And it was divine:

salmon

Two days down, five to go. I bet you can’t wait to see what happens next! (I’ll give you a hint; it involves me eating more).

 

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The Regal Rat Dream

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Taking God Save our Gracious Queen to a whole new level.

That was the premise of the game. Not many people would have jumped at that. The games company should have fired their marketing team (and hired me instead!) But the chance to be an undercover detective with the prospect of high employability rates and the royal family’s eternal gratitude? You’re on to a winner!

This game required skilled detective work and strong willpower. In teams of three we were expected to uncover and terminate any plots against the queen’s life. I was picked last for my team, being the only female of the party. I was left with Johnny Depp and a man named Lewis.

We began in a basement, where an apparent clue had been left as to the identity of the latest plotter. I however, never saw any of the clues. The guys dealt with that. In fact, I never really did anything other than tag along. Any time I suggested an approach they looked irritable I’d spoken at all, so for the most part I just watched them.

When they found this clue, they discussed where to go next – without me, of course, and began the steep ascent out of the basement. It was a high gradient slope that led to the outside world instead of the ground floor of a house. At the top was a Metro-esque sign on curly black iron, enveloped slightly by the bushes and trees on either side.

Johnny managed one foot on the slope before a sound like thunder rolled above us. A singular rat ran towards us, large grey body covered in mangy wet clumps. Following him were his brothers, hundreds of them, all running straight for us.

Johnny and Lewis raced up the slope, with me following closely behind. I had to leap over several crowds of rats for fear of them dragging me down with them. One misstep, one stampeding rat stood on and it was game over. The thought of being stuck down there covered in those feral creatures was enough to get me out.

By the time I’d made it to safety Johnny had already gone. I walked behind Lewis for a while as he spoke to Johnny over his walkie talkie.

“Can I have one of those?” I asked.

He barely glanced at me. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Because you have nothing useful to say.”

I fell back behind him. He meandered along the roads for a bit, then struck off in a more purposeful direction.

“Where are we going?” I asked

am going back to the palace. You should go somewhere else.”

Despite his somewhat uncalled-for doucheyness I too returned to the palace. There was bound to be clues there from where the schemers had planned their schemes. The guys took to the restaurant whilst I went up to the royal chambers. I didn’t bother telling them where I was going, they wouldn’t care anyway.

The Queen’s bodyguard awaited me outside the royal apartments. He had a suit, shades and an earpiece like your average stereotyped secret service man. He held his palm out to stop me, then listened to the person in his ear before saying,

“The Queen says she fancies you. You have her royal pardon to search wherever you deem necessary in your quest.”

Awesome. Wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but hey, it worked in my favour.

I was about to proceed past the guard when I heard two annoyingly familiar voices. It was Lewis and Johnny, but they were nowhere near me.

“Yeah, but you wear it in your ear like this. No-one will suspect a thing.”

I doubled back and followed the sound of the idiots all the way back to the banquet hall, where they were surrounded by diners all staring at them. They’d found an upgrade to their walkie talkies in the form of a state of the art earpiece. I couldn’t believe they’d spent our whole team budget on something so unnecessary!

Somehow, they’d inverted the audio into a microphone. This resulted in their voices booming across what I could only imagine was half of London. I walked up to their table, trying to avoid the irritable stares and titters of the crowd around us.

“You idiots, we can all hear you.”

Johnny looked at me with disgust, screwdriver in hand and wires all over him. “We know. We’re trying to fix it. You wouldn’t understand.”

I ignored him. “Where’s mine anyway?”

Lewis vacantly tossed me his old humongous walkie talkie. “Go look in the basement, would you?”

My heart pounded. I knew what await in the cellar. It involved lots of fighting, and I could barely punch. “Can’t one of you guys go?”

They tittered like I’d told a hilarious joke. “If we went down there, who’d do all the important stuff?”

“Yeah, the queen would die if we left it to you. Then you’d be up for treason with the culprit when we catch him!”

I sighed. There was no way of getting round these stubborn bastards. But I knew the secret lay in that room. If I didn’t go we’d be here forever and other teams would get ahead. “Fine… but if you’re insisting I go, give me one of the earpieces. Carrying this big thing around will hinder me down there.”

They looked at me as if I’d asked them to suck their grandmother’s toes. I realised it was futile even trying, so I left them to their tinkering and sought out the basement.

Evidently it went horrible wrong because I found myself back at the start of the level in the cellar. I could sense the impending rat stampede. You’d think after the first time I’d be well prepared, but for some reason it took me a lot longer to get out. Several times I nearly toppled over but somehow I stayed alive and on my feet.

At the top I paused out of reach of danger to catch my breath. As I did, I saw eight of the largest rats carrying a dying rat towards the cellar. He was clearly of important rank; he had a pimp cane and cane rows and looked inexplicably regal. I think it was the Rat Prince, come to the end of his reign. This was a ceremony for the people to say goodbye to their beloved leader. So moving! I believed I saw his royal ratness moaning and holding his little paw to his head.

Woe is me!”

Something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. There was no breeze tonight, but the trees still moved. Squinting against the darkness, I realised they weren’t leaves at all, but even more rats. Each of them held onto their comrades’ paws, making star shapes with their bodies like synchronised swimmers against the night sky.

After watching this religious rite of passage, it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen my teammates in a deliciously long while. I searched the nearby alleys and eventually found Lewis yelling at his earpiece.

“Where’s Johnny?” I asked. Lewis threw me a quick glance, then shrugged. “Trying to find him. This stupid thing ain’t working.”

Then without warning he he ran off again, down random alleys and off into the town. I tried to keep up but lost him.

Damn I wanted a new team. One with actual intelligence and less sexism. I sighed and set off for the palace again.

The Hypnotic Ham Dream

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I don’t know how I’d gotten to this low point in my life, but I was suddenly conscious I was working and living in an old lumber mill. (If you’ve seen Netflix’s new series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, this will give you a visual idea of how my dream looked, as this was the last thing I saw before I went to bed).

Our uniforms were khaki green and pyjama-like. They were ill-fitted and made of basic, itchy cotton. My boots were already worn in at the toe and slightly too big. I hated to think what had happened to their previous owner.

Our tiny bunks were made of leftover timber from the mill, meaning you were lucky if you didn’t wake up with splinters in your hands and feet. Our bedsheets were of an identically horrible material to our clothing, ensuring even rest periods were hell. The only decency we were shown was in the form of bacon. Every mealtime our plates were stacked with crispy pink meat. The mouthwatering smell was almost the only thing to persuade me out of bed each day.

After a while of being conscious to this world, I started to realise that everyone else was strangely subservient to the boss. Considering we outnumbered him fifty to one, and the poor pay and poorer conditions weren’t fit even for a criminal, I’d have expected a riot by now. Yet each worker kept his glazed eyes on his task, working swiftly and efficiently and never ever talking. I decided some digging was in order. Maybe it was because in his spare time, our lumber mill boss was also a scientist. Scientists could be scary.

Shortly after clocking in I hid outside the boss’ cabin and waited. Nobody seemed to noticed my absence or raise any alarm. It was beautiful sitting outside, breathing in the fresh air without the sawdust clamming up my lungs. If it wasn’t for the ten foot high wall surrounding the mill, I’d have turned my thoughts to escape.

Eventually the boss returned to his cabin and headed straight for the kitchen. I peered in through the window and watched as he pulled out a massive griddle pan and whacked it on the stove. He started piling bacon into the pan and whistling to himself. Surely he had a chef? His cabin was certainly fancy enough to suggest so. I was still perplexed when he pulled a small vial out of the top pocket of his lab coat, uncorked it and emptied the purple contents all over the bacon.

Oh, so that was how he controlled them. There was a hypnotic substance in their food. Let’s be honest, it was a genius plan; nobody could ever turn down bacon.

But I’d been eating it for days and I hadn’t been affected. How was that possible? Did it only work after a certain time, when the spirits of the workers had been broken? Unfortunately I found that out much sooner than I would have liked. I hadn’t realised the boss had seen me, and before I could react he was dragging me inside. He dropped me down into a chair in his office and paced in front of me, deciding what to do.

“How come I can eat the bacon and not be hypnotised?” I blurted out after a minute, sick of the silence.

He smirked and stopped pacing, completely unsurprised I’d fully figured it out.

“Because child, you are an orphan, and orphans are exceptionally good at not doing as they’re told. Which is why you’re here, of course. I’ve written my whole scientific theory on the defiance of orphan protagonists.”

I almost physically saw his lightbulb Eureka moment.

“You shall be new subject! Somehow an orphan of my own has always eluded me. How do you feel about electric chairs?”

 

So there you have it. Bacon is the way to a man’s heart. Unless that man happens to be a main character who also happens to be parentless. Then, they are invincible. (Go Batman!)

You guys learn so much from my dreams.