Week 3: Ouch

So in my efforts to dive back into strength training for my legs, I injured myself at the gym last Monday.  Thankfully, by the end of the week, I was back in action, following several days of rest and a physiotherapy session on Friday morning.

In the meantime, I felt inspired in the kitchen, whipping up dinners using new recipes I found online as well as pulling out few old favourites.  Here is a sample of what was on my plate last week:

Sunshine Dumplings.  My take on the old Salad King favourite, which is now unavailable at the restaurant.  First, I created seitan using this recipe from Vegetarian Times.  (I used more liquid than it suggested in order to initially create the dough.  Watch that you don't over knead it, otherwise it because tough and too chewy.)  Then I sliced it and stir fried it with red onions, peppers of all colours, pineapple and tomatoes.  Then I used - gasp - VH sweet & sour sauce from a mix, along with red pepper flakes.  The end effect is sweet, sour, spicy and vegan.

Homemade "Chicken" Ramen Soup.  Watch out Momofuko.  Several weeks ago, I stumbled across this recipe online at This Week for Dinner.  Delish.  I made a few modifications, such as adding more vegetables (fresh broccoli, mushrooms) and adding extra water instead of pure broth, to minimize sodium.  And of course, I replaced the chicken with a vegetarian version.

Baked Salmon with Pearl Couscous.  For those subscribers to Triathlon Canada magazine, check out this issue for this recipe.  I took out the salmon to make it vegetarian and it's fantastic.  I unfortunately couldn't find the recipe online (yet).

Operation: Caffeine Reduction.  Last but not least, I'm continuing along a personal challenge I set for myself to reduce and - eventually - eliminate caffeine intake.  Back in September, I read an article called Caffeine: the Silent Killer of Success.  One point stood out to me: that feeling coffee gives you in the morning is the effect of it curbing withdrawal symptoms.  In fact, the way it makes you feel is the way you normally would without it in your system.

To me, that's a powerful thought.  Could I be this energetic almost all the time without coffee?  I decided to answer that question and slowly wean myself off of caffeine.

Side note: It has been a gradual process, because I love espresso.  On a late summer vacation to Italy in 2013, I grew to adore the potent little shots of heaven, often accompanied by the Italian equivalent of a timbit.  Back in Canada, it wouldn't be abnormal for me to have two shots over the course of a day.

Today, I've reduced my coffee intake to one instant coffee in the morning, with half a teaspoon regular coffee and one full teaspoon decaf.  Within the next week or so, I should be down to decaf.

By and large, I'm feeling great.  I'm more consistently energetic during the day and sleeping well at night.  I'll share another update in a week or two.