A vegan post workout protein smoothie.
I have a confession to make.
I’ve become fat.
I’d always been one of those skinny people. When I left high school I weighed just over 7 stone. I was very active: swimming, cycling, skateboarding, horseback riding, climbing (and falling out of) trees in the summer, skiiing, ice skating on the lake and sledging in the winter.
Then I had three children. A fractured skull as the result of a horseback riding accident made me somewhat more cautious when it came to more extreme sports (but there was a point, pre-children, when I dabbled in abseiling and rock climbing here in Shetland). I walked, a lot, everywhere. The weight just fell off after the birth of my first child, after the second some hung around a bit, and after the third… well, that was an eye opener. 16 months after the birth of my third child (in 2009) I attended an Open University residential school in Nottingham. Part of our science experiments were to measure the fitness of our peers and I was shocked to realize just how much post-baby weight I’d retained and how poor my general fitness was.
I resolved to change that so I signed up to our local gym and forced myself to go five days a week after I dropped the kids off at school.
Results were quick. Within a few months I’d dropped down to a healthy, comfortable for me weight (BMI 20.1). I’ll never be as thin as I was when I left high school, but that was far too thin – unhealthy. Going to the gym – 30-50 minutes of cardio or all of the weight machines (on alternate days) meant I could generally eat what I wanted and maintain my healthy weight. Life was good.
I was the fittest I’d ever been. I felt strong! As such, I volunteered to train as a crew member on our local lifeboat. I passed all the fitness tests and was planning on going down the navigator route. My trip to the RNLI headquarters in Poole for my sea survival training was booked for that August.
I fell in love with running. I began the Couch 2 5k running program and completed it. In early May I ran the wastside miles – a 3 mile or 7 mile run organized to raise funds for local charity. I did the 7 miles; not quickly, mind, but I did it.
A few days later I stood in the path of a rope under strain and everything changed.
To cut a long story short – I suffered a severe foot crush injury resulting in a syndemosis ankle sprain, partially torn ligaments in my foot and ankle and crushed the two main nerves innervating the foot, resulting in permanent nerve damage. My experience with the NHS has been a poor one: “There, there, these things take time to heal” was the general response every time I went to the doctor. An x-ray (a year later) revealed no broken bones, but the structural and nerve damage to my foot means I haven’t been able to run or exercise since. I’ve mostly been sitting on my ever growing backside waiting for things to heal.
It’s been 18 months. Things are as healed as they are going to get. I’ve asked about acupuncture (doctor says no), I tried the chiropractor (ow – the week after my first manipulation was hellish!) and I tried medication for neuralgia (this killed the nerve pain but made me feel like I was wading through treacle in my mind – no thanks). I finally saw sense with an orthopedic consultant and a specialist who said that the crushed nerves have to degenerate back to the spine before they can regrow, a process which will take 2.5 years, if it happens at all. The orthopedic consultant gave me a set of swish moulded insoles (the crush changed the structure of my foot) which do help but if I over use my foot it pinches the nerves causing excruciating neuralgia. It can get pretty bad if I spend too much time on my feet.
Running is absolutely out of the question.
In the time I’ve been waiting to heal I’ve put on 30 pounds (just over 2 stone). My BMI has jumped up to 26.9 -right smack dab in the middle of the overweight range. 2.5 years of going to the gym 5 days a week – completely undone. I have to get my husband to open the pickle jar for me now. Weak!
I feel awful. My clothes don’t fit, I don’t want to leave the house and my elderly neighbour keeps telling me I’m getting fatter – every. time. I. see. him. Lovely.
So – I’m doing something about it.
I really dislike swimming (it’s a bit too hampster in a ball, mind numblingly dull for me), and there is nothing wrong with my upper body so I’m going to focus on weights and cardio training that way.
I will get my fitness back!
I’ve purchased a hard core home exercise video program (the price of a 3 month gym membership) and I’m adapting it a bit to minimize impact on my foot – lots of upper body exercises. It includes plenty of weight lifting – I love weight lifting! I completed the first set today (to the best of my ability) and already I can feel the effects. I have missed these exercise endorphins!
A few weekends ago I crashed. I lived off store bought frozen pizzas cooked by my husband, stayed in my pjs for the whole weekend playing Zelda: Skyward Sword on the Wii and drank a little bit too much red wine out of a box. I felt awful. I even debated deleting my blog and hiding from the world, I felt that miserable. I can’t live like that, so big changes are afoot in Elizabeth’s Kitchen.
I could really use your support and encouragement on my journey back to fitness. Thank you for reading my confessional, which was more for me than you, but thanks for reading nonetheless.
I am fortunate to have two really useful tools for my journey back to fitness: a Froothie Optimum 9400 high powered blender and it’s cousin the Optimum 600 masticating slow juicer. Both of them have a permanent home on my counter top next to the chopping board.
Today, after my first workout on my new path back to fitness I made myself one of these high protein banana smoothies in my Froothie. I’ve been making one for my breakfast for the last few days and they are rather good, and filling, for a smoothie. I suppose a spoonful of protein powder could be added, if you wanted more protein. I’m going to experiment with adding cacao nibs too, for variation.
Banana Nut Protein Smoothie
- 25 grams raw almonds
- 1 large banana
- 200 ml unsweetened soya milk
- ice cubes optional
- Place the almonds in a high powered blender and blitz until finely ground.
- Add the banana, soya milk and ice, if using, and blend until smooth.
- Drink immediately.
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