Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Syrup for Fuel

The whole ‘healthy holiday’ plan had a very promising start. I made a lot of good food choices as I journeyed towards Canada, including a very tasty wholemeal salmon and beetroot wrap and loads of fruit. The was a minor incident at Rejkavik airport as I purchased a dried fish snack which I wasn’t entirely certain was definitely intended for human consumption; it was next to a picture of a very happy-looking dog and had zero discernable English on the packaging. Nonetheless, it tasted marvellous and had no less than a whopping 81% protein so either way, I was onto a winner!

My first day in Novascotia started out well too as I kicked off the morning with an exploratory run, located the local pool and scouted out the gym (which, to my dismay, was closing the day after for a summer break!). I even managed to maintain a reasonable amount of self-control at our first BBQ, but all that yummy Canadian meat opened up some sort of carnivorous floodgate and the next day, it started to go downhill.

We visited a market in a nearby town where many a stall is famed for its baked goods. By 10.30 I had put away a selection of muffins and cookies and a pastry bigger than my head. I simply could not stop the urge to try all the tasty snacks that another country had to offer.

I tried to balance it all out later on that day as we headed over to the cottage: a beautiful cabin up in the hills that sits on the edge of a picturesque lake. The water was plenty warm enough to swim in so with my ‘support crew’ in a pedalo I went on an open water swimming adventure.

The good work was quickly undone as BBQ number two got underway. I indulged in more of Nick’s huge homemade burgers, marinated chicken thighs, pork chops, steak kebabs and sausages. Even the salad had tortilla chips, cheese and a delicious ranch dressing. Once all that was gone (and I made sure it was) it was time to tuck into dessert, an enormous coconut cream pie. I am not even that keen on cream and should have politely refused but I’m pretty sure we don’t have this sort of thing in England so it would have been a major missed opportunity.

I was going to get back on the healthy the next day but as I awoke from my meat-induced slumber I discovered Nick, in the kitchen, with a spatula and a wild look in his eye.

Breakfast involved pancakes so large they could have doubled as seat cushions, doused in oodles of maple syrup with crispy, streaky bacon, eggs, yoghurt and a variety of fruits. Typically Canadian apparently. I immersed myself in the culture and had two.

The weather – which thus far had been stiflingly hot – had turned a little cooler and the clouds had rolled in throughout the morning. I decided a short, fast run would ease the double pancake guilt. According to a signpost, there was a campsite just up the road with lovely views into the valley. I figured I could run up there, take in the scenery and try to beat my own time on the way back, aided by the downhill. It would be 5k max.

I set out feeling super, fuelled almost exclusively from maple syrup. As I turned the corner I caught a glimpse of the road ahead. You should know that when a Canadian – with their almost laughably warped sense of size – says “Well, it’s called a mountain but really it’s more of a small hill”, you should expect it to be massive. As I began to ascend what was indeed a mountain, the clouds parted and the sun beat down relentlessly. The road got steeper and steeper and when I eventually reached the campsite I was so much sweat running into my eyes I could barely even open them, let alone enjoy the view.

I arrived back at the farmhouse 26 minutes later and possible in the worst post-exercise state of my entire life. It took so long for my face to cool down that when we made a visit to a family gathering, people were genuinely concerned that I had some sort of fever.

Another evening of BBQ followed and – even though I knew it was wrong – I shamelessly ate a crazy amount of homemade garlicky burgers and chocolate cake. Afterwards though I hit a psychological turnaround point as I realised I had drifted back into my old ways. I got my head back in the healthy zone and got ready to start a new day.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you've heard egg, but blueberries are actually pretty good for you.. maybe you should get your petite little botty down to EXMOOR and pick some yummy fresh EXMOOR BLUEBERRIES! That'll give you a right health boost! haha shameless I know.. You've made me hungry now with that blog, muffins here we go! Love jessy xx