I’ve been wondering about a lot of things recently, it’s the kind of thing that happens following medical appointments; a comment is made and although I hear the words they’re saying, I don’t actually process it straight away.
There are questions, a lot of questions, and a lot of thinking and a lot of consulting Dr. Google – which is never a good idea.
Today, I’m going to postulate whether protein is the answer.
When I rocked up at the Urgent Care Centre and collapsed into a wheelchair in immense pain, I was told that I’d tore my calf muscle and that the recovery could be up to 12 weeks.
When I saw physio three weeks later I was again told that recovery could be up to 12 weeks.
12 weeks from injury was early January
12 weeks from physio appointment was mid-late January
It is now 7-8 weeks past this and, although I may have aggravated it on a couple of occasions (band parade early December and running a little too much at parkrun early January), physio doesn’t think it would have delayed recovery by this much – a week or two maybe, but not by two months.
Physio suggested that chemo drugs may have affected my body’s repair mechanisms, which I suppose could be a valid proposal as I’m living with a lot of other lingering effects (and cardiology said something similar with regards to chemo affecting my autonomic regulation – but that’s for another post).
Physio also suggested at an earlier appointment that maybe I was getting injured so much because of weak (or weakened) muscles/muscle tone and wondered whether that could be chemo related too.
If that’s the case then we need to find a way to overcome it. I can’t live the rest of my life not doing anything in case I end up injured, and besides I have four pairs of running shoes to use!
I’ve been doing my physio exercises
I’ve been resting my leg
I’ve been doing strength work at the gym
. . . but it’s still not better.
What else can I do?
And then it came to me, muscles need protein, and without sufficient protein the process of repair will be slower. You can read more about the role of protein in muscle repair here.
As a (mostly) vegetarian I’m almost certainly nor getting enough protein., but that’s an easy fix. For the last week(ish) I’ve been eating more protein – fish and chicken as well as plant based protein source – and I’ve also been trying protein shakes.
Protein, or meal replacement, shakes were not something that ever appealed to me as they are/were based on milk protein and as I don’t like the taste of milk I figured I wouldn’t like them. However, with the rise of plant-based/vegan products there is actually a huge range of non-dairy mixes available.
Having found a protein powder that ticks every box; taste and texture, non-dairy, high protein, easy to mix, and only 50p per serving, I’m hoping that protein is the answer and that over the next few weeks I’ll see a definite improvement to my injury.
This article from The Telegraph shares their top ten vegan protein shakes. Tempted as I was by some of the top ones, the cost per serving was not as tempting.
I chose the understated packaging of no.8, MyProtein vegan blend chocolate, at £10.99 for 500g from Holland & Barrett and on their Buy One Get One Half Price offer. I blend one scoop of protein powder with a small banana and 250ml unsweetened soya milk, and this gives almost 32g protein in my breakfast shake. . . As an alternative I suppose I could eat 4-5 Quorn sausages daily!