What time is it? It’s Vegan time!


Yummy vegan and vegetarian food!

The ‘Wicked Kitchen’ range of exclusively vegan food is actually Wicked; from what I’ve managed to try, they’ve managed to get a lot of flavour into their products, which is something I often find lacking in most packaged foods, especially catered for vegetarians/vegans. My favourite has to be the sourdough caponata pizza with mint salsa verde (tasted amazing!).

So as the title may hint, I’ve been experimenting with a changeup of my dietary habit, just because! I’ve always liked vegetarian/vegan food, but it’s always been very Indian, and as I’ve mentioned before a lot of Gujarati food is vegetarian, in fact on closer inspection it’s actually vegan. So I figured why not!

It started off quite easy and for the first two weeks (the last two of Veganuary) it was great, I was very strict with what I would eat and I actually found myself more focussed and more energetic, probably because I wasn’t binge eating as much nor was I indulging. I actually really enjoyed the vegan food I cooked at home, and sometimes it would end up being vegetarian if I could escape certain ingredients, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed cooking and eating freshly made food at home! I even managed to re-write my results chapters for my thesis and write the majority of my conclusion too.

But the great start was not to last, a few cravings later and I found myself seriously wanting a different texture and taste, notably chocolate. And of course, since JamJar recently opened in Coventry, it was a no brainer. The mix chocolate cookie dough was divine! Very indulgent but perfectly sweet, not too much and not too little and the hazelnut gelato was a much preferred accompaniment to the hot cookie dough over vanilla ice cream served elsewhere. If I had more of a sweet tooth I would be going back regularly! But luckily I’m not overly hyped on dining out! Save the pennies AND the pounds! A necessity for a student.

So whilst it lasted it was certainly interesting, I lasted a lot longer than I had initially given myself credited for and I think I’m certainly going to change my dietary habits, mostly cutting back on the binge eating and trying to consciously include freshly cooked vegetables into my everyday eating pattern. And although ‘Wicked Kitchen’ is incredibly pricey, I will certainly be looking out for overs and marked down prices, because the food is good and the tub is reusable! Perfect!

 

PS. Food listed from left to right, top row: Mustard seed potatoes (Gujarati – rai vara bataka), Chana masala, Delhi dal makhni (ready to eat range from Ashoka). Bottom row: Gluten free mac and cheese with spicy mushrooms, Spiced brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas, Mushroom curry.

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A very late start to the year…


Three weeks into the new year and only now I find myself ready to write something. It’s odd how a few days of perpetual writing can affect the brain…even if it seems that the content is no where near the same. I’ve pretty much completed my thesis (certainly the official draft) and after a chaotic approach to all things ‘supervisory’…it would appear that the breadth of the storm was not as predicted. My chapters are being ‘looked’ at by someone other than my DoS, and in the case of prolonged absence, I have a team shuffle which is ready and willing to go. Sorted. Or so one would think, if that was all that had caused my incredible apathy of late…surely I’d have a spring in my step now? But the reality is that I am still very much laden with apathy and a sense of relentless hopelessness…which can only be shifted in periods, only to return back to where it came. My three concerns and points of distress currently stand as life, job and thesis…and perhaps I should’ve titled my blog post as such.

The truth is, that unlike my other postings, where I somehow talk myself out of a rut and get myself motivated, this post won’t achieve that. It’s not about whether I can create an environment where I remind myself of my capabilities and surrender to the laws of nature which often do the opposite of what one desires. This post is a reminder that whilst one can be motivated, driven and passionate (from angles one never dreamed)…if there are others involved, the process is never going reach the anticipated outcome. Dependence on others to do the right thing, is common sense, just like when you are entrusted with a responsibility which would affect someone else, you most certainly will give due diligence. But sadly…this isn’t the world we live in, at least not anymore. I’m glad that it doesn’t take too much for me to write how I feel and it does help getting it off my chubby yet narrow shoulders. The weight of my world is often too much to take…and without anyone to share it with, it seems to be the very thing that will crush me. My dreams, aspirations and desires is what’ll be the end of me. How incredibly glum.

So, let’s veer away from that for the moment, and ignore that we are currently living in a world much like that portrayed in Idiocracy, and let’s try and see a way through this all. What I’m saying is that we all need a little bit of positive change, there’s been far too much negativity, and sometimes just one small happy thought is enough to change world. So what’s my small, happy thought going to be, you ask? Well…given my particular view…it can only be the feeling one gets when you see a soft little blanket of snow fall, and even with all the elements out there to destroy it…it leaves it mark, and even when it’s gone, it’s not forgotten.

 

Let’s make 2018 the year we change everything that we’re unhappy about. NQ out.

We are in crisis.


There are very few times that I truly regret giving up on Medicine…but sometimes, seeing how useless you are to the prevailing problems that are only heightening, can make you question your decisions all over again. I’ve always remembered just wanting to help, it’s corny to some people, I can understand that, but it was the reason why I wanted to be a doctor. I hated feeling helpless every time I saw someone suffering, didn’t have to be someone I knew or someone close to me. I just wanted to help. But all my efforts to pursue that, seemed to fall short and I was indeed exhausted, and here I am, once again, asking myself “how am I useful?”. And right now, in this particular moment, I find myself unable to answer.

That question has only been amplified in the last few days, and now perhaps incorporates a much bigger picture. I now find myself asking “where did it all go wrong?”. I’ve had very few regrets in life (just over a quarter century), but if I were given the opportunity to change one thing about my life, I find that my current answer would be my PhD. The stories given by freshly doctored students may not even reflect the true horror experienced when so many of the factors simply don’t add up. I am constantly trying to think, why didn’t I push harder to get out of this before it even started. I have told myself over the past 3 years that it will get better, but I have yet to see ‘better’. I know what my passion was, and I gave that up because I had no other choice…but where I am now, I am no happier. I’m struggling to complete my PhD in a manner in which I am happy, and through no fault of my own. I feel completely powerless over my own future, and that has often not been a daunting fact to me, however now I feel shaken. I feel as though the people who have the control are the very ones who have broken me, leaving me as mere fragments held together only by my faith. I am broken. And I am unhappy. It’s truly a realisation when I can say that I did not find doing a PhD difficult, no matter where I failed and where I picked myself up again, I was always determined because I believed in my ability and succeeded, but it’s the last hurdle, the one that requires dependence on a very incompetent few where I find myself stumble. Worse, is that I cannot skip this hurdle, nor can I sufficiently cross it alone.

This is where I find myself this year, almost poetically at an inverted crushendo, where everything has ‘built down’ and led to a very steep decline. In a way, it can only get better, but tell that to the one who fallen into a dark hole, with no obvious way out. I was perhaps naive in my thinking that my experience and skills would successfully equip me for employment, yet, this again is a task I find myself unable to check off. In fact, my current thoughts about my personal occurings resonate very much with my thoughts regarding the global and national situation. We are being governed by those who WE placed in power, yet we are unhappy, being made to differentiate between our neighbours, and no closer to peace. Why are we in this mess? It is not one simple answer. Brexit. Trump. Modi. May. Climate change. Deforestation. War. Terrorism. Poverty. Sickness. Austerity. Jerusalem. There is too much wrong to find even one right.

I need a light to break through the darkness. We all do. We need peace and global calm. Not calamity or enmity. We need a light to show us the right way once more. I hope that this new start can wipe all our mistakes and we can look forward to making things right. Let us not let our past decisions dictate our futures. Let us not let those with hatred speak for us all. Let us truly show what mankind is…and let’s not waste our time with fireworks!

 

NQ out for the year.

…*silence*


I know that I’ve been extremely quiet lately…it feels as though I haven’t posted this half of the year at all (although, not true!). But rest assured, I have simply had a very chaotic past few weeks…months(?), and I will be back to share all very soon. Certainly before the end of the year.

This very short post was to prove…that although I’m burnout, I’m not burnout.

 

NQ out…only to be back very soon!

Yellow goodness!


I did it! I finally did it! No, I have not passed my Viva, and no I have not submitted my doctoral thesis either; I have achieved something even better…I conquered mac ‘n’ cheese! Woohoo! It took several attempts and lots of research (as you’d expect) and bingo! In fact, I paid close attention to the mac ‘n’ cheese that Costa have got out in their food range, and (minus the preservatives) it’s pretty much bang on. Of course, I didn’t have mustard at home and my conquest to make my own resulted in a very potent whole grain paste…but…a tasty, potent paste!

Evidence below.

What a difference a cheese makes.


I sometimes find myself needing to hear some motivational phrases…and often I find so many that are simply lacklustre, so I figured I could find inspiration and let myself come up with a few and share them here. In fact…somehow seeing the words in my head out in front of me reinforces the strength of the meaning. So this is just as much for me, as it is for anyone else needing a few “happy” words. So here goes nothing.

            More often than not, the right path to take is the loneliest, so don’t fear being alone

            Just because the fog overwhelms your vision, doesn’t mean that a clear horizon is not there

            Smile even if it feels stupid, smiles on the outside help you smile on the inside

Just tell yourself to be happy, and look at the wonder of nature, even without it’s leaves a naked tree stands proud

If someone can’t take the time to respond to you, they aren’t worth contemplating…make the effort to communicate with yourself, it’s far more rewarding

Sometimes you feel tested beyond your capacity, but just remember that even metal has to be heated extraordinarily before something beautiful can be made 

Give up only if you know that you never truly tried

 

 

PS. Titular reference is using mature cheddar instead of mild for mac ‘n’ cheese…HUGE difference! Yum!

 

Winter Blues


You know, I give up, I can’t be doing this anymore and I need a way out. What is it that has got me so rattled, you may ask? Is it my PhD? Is it my personal life? Is it my inability to find a job? Well, it’s actually a combination of everything, and yes I have been blaming the season, even though as we near the end of the year, it often becomes my favourite part of the year. As of now however, I’m simply apathetic. I’m struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed and finish those last few experiments and complete my PhD. I suppose it probably has something to do with the fact that the answer to my simple yes/no questions, is only maybe. ‘Maybe’ can’t get you very far. Even a ‘no’ is more useful. Yes, I agree that it’s a negative response, but even negative responses can be motivational, much better than a ‘meh’. Which perfectly describes my current state of mind.

I can’t even remember if it truly is seasonal…my brain (like many others) has a tendency to forget about anything remotely depressing…and of course, romanticising that which is does remember. I can’t blame winter, even though I feel blue. I just want to perk up again, I only wish I knew how.

I think I need to distract myself…maybe some time away? Or read one of the two Mark Billingham books I have sitting around untouched. I just need to do something…and even cooking and eating isn’t helping (very sad!). And of course, when I am sad and upset I want chocolate. Even though I have a dairy/lactose sensitivity…so what does that mean?…Painful tummy aches and worse! I need to cheer up and finish everything!!! So much to to do, glad my spirituality is helping me to just take a few minutes out several times a day. I need more of that. Amplified.

 

My Favourite nachos from Las Iguanas!

Yummy tuna bagel. Best bagel I’ve ever had!

Chocolate chip packed brownie!

Vanilla gelato and Ferrero Rocher cookie dough from Sprinkles. Extremely decadent.

Homemade kidney bean and potato chilli.

Tandoori potatoes made in my new worktop oven/grill! Yum!