My Week at Uni – Chaos

Wow, this week has been a whirlwind. I’ve felt a bit out of balance in all aspects, I haven’t had much time to stop and think and have felt reactive rather than proactive which is not my preferred way of working.

Monday we only had an afternoon lab session so I spent the morning working on my next assessment. The lab was so much fun, we did something we hadn’t done before; we did a Wingate test. This test is a 10 or 30 second test cycling as fast as you can with 7.5% of your body weight as resistance. The test is to determine your power output, looking at the strength of the leg muscles. It was so much fun and I was pleasantly surprised at my results! Tuesday was a chaotic morning leaving home late and then the tube line being delayed. When I finally got into uni we had a useful lecture for statistics and a really informative lecture on protein metabolism. The protein metabolism lecture got a little bit hijacked with questions based on the falsehoods and confusing information given by mass media. It’s difficult because we all take the information we already know/think we know into any new learning when really we should approach it afresh without any preconceived biases. I went straight from uni to Food Matters Live at ExCel. I went to a talk which wasn’t all that useful and wandered around talking to some of the companies there looking at some new products and developments which was a bit more interesting. Wednesday I was back at the event and attended some talks which were a bit more useful. I managed to get a bit more assessment work done also. Thursday, I had a great couple of lectures – super fascinating about food irradiation and genetic modification. I also got my grade back from that weird assessment I had a couple of weeks ago and was happily surprised by my grade. It feels good to start the year with a good grade – let’s hope it continues! I can only do my best and put the work in.

My partner’s got a long weekend off work so we’re going to enjoy some time together without working. I’m still teaching my usual Sunday morning class and I’ve got a workshop Saturday afternoon that I’m leading which I’m also looking forward to. After such a busy week I’m looking forward to a bit of a reset. Hopefully next week I can get a bit more of a grasp back on my time and find a bit more balance in my different streams of work and uni.

Personal learning this week: Whole days are not good or bad, they are a mix of both. You cannot always control the day but you can change the way you view it.

Interesting things I’ve learnt this week:

  • More protein does not always equal more muscle – Having20g of protein in a serving stimulates muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) to the same extent at 40g. There is no significant difference in having such a huge quantity of protein in one serving. (Further reading: Moore et al., 2011, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/1/161/4598235 and Witard et al., 2014, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/99/1/86/4577382)
  • Is food irradiation the best way to preserve food and prevent illness? – Food irradiation sounds like a bad thing, but is it actually? Irradiated food is food exposed to a controlled source of ionising radiation, this kills bacteria in the food prolonging shelf-life without changing the nutritional value of the food. (To learn more about irradiated food https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/irradiated-food)
  • Goats can produce silk? – In the weird and wonderful world of genetic modification many species exist which shouldn’t by way of nature. One of the strangest that I found out about this week was goats which have had their DNA altered with the inclusion of a gene from a spider which allows them to produce silk. This silk protein is produced in their milk allowing large quantities of silk to be extracted when the goats are milked. This silk is super strong and is used for things like bullet-proof vests and surgical stitching. Although this allows for greater use of this material is it really right to be messing around with nature and exploiting animals in this way?

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