I’m settling back in the sunny and hot Helsinki (although not as hot as I hear New York is at the moment — I’m almost glad that I’m not there even though I miss NYC!), and I’m valuing my privacy as well as the facilities available at my own home. There’s some work to be done as I’ve got a few deadlines coming up, so I haven’t been enjoying the nice weather as much as I’d like, or caught up with friends here in Finland. I did manage a weekend in Piikkiö (near Turku, on the West Coast of Finland) at my mate’s summer cottage though, and I have been running a fair bit.
I felt rather guilty after all the indulgencies I succumbed to while I was in the US, especially the beer, but also not eating quite as well as I would’ve liked to. So I decided that at least for the month of June I’ll try to eat healthy, cut down on the alcohol, and get some intensive training in. Not that I have a huge problem with alcohol, it just happens to be full of empty calories which I really don’t need in my marathon training and plans of getting leaner and fitter. It’s going well so far: apart from a beer or two at the summer cottage, I’ve been drinking just non-alcoholic beer. Granted, the taste is nothing to write home about, but it gives me the illusion that I’m drinking beer… Actually, there is one non-alcoholic beer which is decent and quite readily available: Nikolai Dark Lager. It’s much too sweet, as all non-alcoholic beers tend to be, but it’s drinkable, and reminds me of the dark Velkopopovický Kozel.
In terms of food I’ve also cut out the needless stuff, like crisps. I’ve also acquired some new food stuffs, one of them being chia seeds, which I discovered in NYC. I went all out and got 2kg of the seeds, so I should be sorted for a while! At the same time I ordered some carob powder and maca powder. Chia and maca are popular sources of vegan protein, whereas carob is often used as a chocolate substitute due to its sweet taste — I quite like it. An interesting combination is produced by soaking the chia seeds overnight in soy/oat/almond/rice/hemp milk with some carob powder; the result is almost like a chocolate pudding of some sort. To take full advantage of all these ingredients, as well as the vegan protein powder which I previously had (a combination of soy protein, pea protein isolate, and wheat protein), I also bought a blender. The blender in the Tefal Jamie Oliver series looked like good value for money. I tried it out today and it is a nice sturdy blender with a good glass bowl and sufficient power. It can also be used to crush ice. I came up with the following recipe:
-200ml oat milk
-1 tbl spoon of vegan protein powder
-1/2 tbl spoon of maca powder
-1/2 tbl spoon of carob powder
The result was a nice smoothie with a banana-chocolate flavour. I think I’ll be making more of these! The protein powder that I have is not particularly tasty, so adding it to smoothies such as this is a great way of using it. I plan to have protein shakes like this after gym sessions and tougher runs at least.
To monitor my health and progress I’ve also bought a scale. Originally I wanted the Tanita BC-1000 Body Composition Monitor, as it’s compatible with my Garmin Forerunner 310XT as well as Garmin Connect, so that I’d get all the data online. However, it’s quite expensive yet has only 4 electrodes for body composition analysis. Now, these things are not that accurate in measuring body fat etc. in the first place, so it would at least be necessary to have separate electrodes for the arms. That’s why I went for the Tanita BC-601 Segmental Body Composition Monitor. I’ve only had it for a few days, but it seems to be working fine. I can also get the data to my computer as it records everything on a removable MicroSD card. I will probably post a full review of the unit when I’ve had it for a while.
So, I should be all set for healthy living (with a vegan diet) and intensive training, with the ability to follow my progress too.