Category: Health

The Meal Deal: A New British Icon

The supermarket meal deal – a main, a drink and a snack. Conveniently packaged, and more to the point, competitively priced, the importance of the meal deal in today’s society cannot be overstated. N.B. Decablogs is not in receipt of monetary endorsement for this post. But, if Tesco would like to pay me to gobble down some pasta pots, I’m ready to talk.

26th June 2021

By Austin

When the urge strikes

It’s a Tuesday afternoon. And you’ve been sitting now for roughly forty minutes in your lounge, avidly tracing the motion of the wall-mounted clock with your eyes. As the second hand races towards the top, and the hour hand plants itself above the “1”, you are thinking of one thing and one thing alone – lunch. 

Your brain kicks into gear and as you pace into the kitchen, visions of mediterranean banquets flicker before your eyes. This imaginary mise-en-scene of Italian hams, tomato based sundries and delicious cheeses is shattered when you prise open the fridge to see some low fat margarine, a single spring onion and the cold blue light blinking back at you. There is only one course of action – meal deal.

Snatching your coat from the hook, scooping up your phone, keys and wallet in a perfectly rehearsed pirouette, you swing back the door and stroll down to your local supermarket.

The Meal Deal – a British Icon

What I have just detailed is a vignette of modern british life that rivals even Turgenev in the romance of its realism. The meal deal is a perennial icon. A symphony of thrift and choice that has come to embody a generation of Brits. As the sun reaches its highest point each day, millions of Brits pour out of houses, offices and brothels, with a burning desire for a delicious lunch that won’t break the bank. So, the appeal of the meal deal is undeniable. 

But, the reason for my post is to lay down a few ground rules. It’s fair to say, I have had quite a few meal deals in my time and so I like to think I have a pretty good grasp of what separates a banging meal deal from an out-and-out stinker. 

Where to get your Meal Deal:

The first decision you are faced with (bad news if you are an indecisive Libra) when on the hunt for a meal deal is where to cop it from. To my mind there is only one viable option – Tesco. No one does meal deals like Tesco. For the humble price of £3, you can pick up a quality meal deal from one of 13 million meal deal combinations

Historically, my second choice meal deal would have been Sainsbury’s. However, recently they have upped the price of their meal deal to £3.50. So it is no longer the case that the low price compensates for the lack of options. 

Many would argue that Co-op offers a good meal deal option. And to those people I would say, are you high? Co-op is overpriced, limited in choice and generally not a nice place to be. And, in many of the stores I have been in, meal deal items are not clearly signposted, leaving hungry shop-goers to traipse all over to track down a – let’s be honest – astonishingly mediocre lunch.

So, these are the big three on the meal deal scene. However, there is a list of shops from which I would actively discourage getting a meal deal.

  1. WHSmiths – Overpriced, wraps that taste like cardboard
  2. M&S – Great food but be prepared to remortgage your house to finance it 
  3. Morrison’s – I’m sure they’re great but my nearest Morrison’s is 32 miles away (no thank you!)
  4. Pret – not actually a meal deal, grow up!
  5. Boots – As far as meal deals go, they were the first and now they’re the worst

The Nitty Gritty of the Meal Deal

Right, so you’ve made the right call and demonstrated to the world that you have a fully-functioning brain by walking into a Tesco. From the entrance you are able to make out the clearly labelled section “Food To Go” and so you walk over and set about making your selection.

As far as I am concerned, there is only one correct choice with the Tesco Meal Deal. 

  1. Main – Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Wrap
  2. Side – Cadbury’s Boost Duo
  3. Drink – Naked Blue Machine Blueberry Smoothie

The undisputed king of meal deals. It marries taste, vegetarianism, flavour and value in a small form-factor meal that is easy to carry in one hand without a bag. While this is the only logical option, there are a few other approaches that can work.

Value Junkie

Many meal dealers opt for the most expensive items in the meals deal to maximise value, often at the expense of taste. The most expensive meal deal item is the smoothie, double sushi combo.

  1. Main – Vegetable Sushi – £2.75
  2. Snack – Vegetable Sushi – £1.00
  3. Drink – Naked Smoothie – £2.36

= £6.11 for the price of £3.00

While value junkies would be the first to admit that this isn’t the best tasting meal deal, they can justify such a purchase given the immense dopamine rush at seeing the £6.11 total on the self-checkout drop to £3.00.

Themed Meal Deals

Some like to unite their purchases with a common theme. These can include a focus on Indian cuisine (Main: Samosa, Snack: Samosa and Drink: Ginger and turmeric smoothie shot) or a pasta heavy meal deal (Main: Cheese and Tomato pasta pot, Snack: Cheese and Tomato pasta snack pot, Drink: Water – to cleanse the palate between the wildly different main and snack flavours). While I can respect the themed meal dealer, its not a way I can live my life.

There are, however, some lines over which one cannot cross. What follows is a list of cardinal sins, the sort of things that if I saw someone swiping throught the checkout would make me put my head in my hands and wail audibly.

Avoid at all costs

Mains:

  • The Spicy Bean Wrap – If you are consistently beaning, you must really hate yourself
  • Prawn Layered Salad – Stomach churning – who are you trying to be?

Snack:

  • Egg Protein Pot – If you’re choosing this, you are the worst type of person
  • Tortilla Chip Pot – These are always stale. Get doritos like a normal person
  • Tyrrells Vegetable Crisps – Just No.

Drink:

  • Coconut Water – This is what happens when you start choosing meal deals for instagram photos rather than taste

That’s a wrap! (I hate myself too). If you think I’ve missed out any sinful meal deal items, let me know via instagram: https://www.instagram.com/decablogs/ or via email decablogs10@gmail.com. Thanks for reading! If you liked this or want to have more of this style of blog, leave a comment, like and share – it costs you nothing and makes writing these blogs worthwhile 🙂

Insomnia Makes Me Batman

22nd April 2021

By Gavriel

I am an insomniac. Why? Because I am a psychopath. I am also Batman. Read on to witness my uncannily brilliant attempt to justify my heinous crimes…

I am writing this post at 23:20 at night whilst listening to a playlist of One Direction and Eminem. I am not ready for bed. Many of my peers are insomniacs due to the addiction that is social media and our mobile phones, watching movies until 01:00 or engaging in nonsensical debates about football as every semblance of intelligence and wit renders itself useless. It is an unhealthy addiction. One which is probably damaging to the health of countless people. I am presently writing this on my laptop – the hypocrisy is real.

Why, then, would I possibly endorse being an insomniac? Given the lack of ad revenue this website is generating, it would be unwise to endorse anything without the promise of a large sum of money (hint, hint @richpeoplewithmoneytospare). I believe there is an article published by fellow decablogger Nilesh about the importance of sleep which I shall attach below. I by no means intend to discredit the numerous facts which Nilesh raises (and the size of a man’s penis which supposedly goes down with a lack of sleep), yet I still deprive myself of the recommended hours of sleep. Why?

Nilesh’s article: https://decablogs.com/sleep-mans-greatest-superpower/

There are various famous cases of insomniacs who are highly successful Homosapiens who have irregular sleeping patterns (don’t quote me on this though, some might be Neanderthals). The man who inspired mine was the late great Kobe Bryant. Kobe would wake up in the early hours (around 4am) to work out, thus maximising his opportunity to get stuff done during the day. By extending his working hours he was able to expand his commitments whilst spending more time on his craft. Kobe was the hardest worker in the history of basketball, and his resumé shows he was successful. Bruce Wayne, a.k.a Batman, utilises the Uberman sleep schedule, as did Nikola Tesla and Leonardo Da Vinci. This consists of taking 20-minute naps every 4 hours for a total of 3 hours of sleep a day.

The most successful modern entrepreneurs also get early starts with little sleep. Granted, many do not choose to work late into the evening, but Musk, Jobs and Clinton are amongst the most successful examples of people who got/get up around 6 hours of sleep a day, rising at 6 and going to sleep at midnight. Then again, Monica Lewinsky had to leave enough time after her curfew to sneak out of her mummy’s place to the White House so Clinton may have waited up for that reason. My pattern is not too dissimilar – because I don’t live in the White House, obviously, or do I…

I shan’t reveal my exact sleeping pattern (I intend on selling that once I’m rich and famous in a few months once this blog blows up – figuratively) but the premise is consistent. By sleeping less and working more I maximise the amount of work – i.e. hours of FIFA played – that I am capable of doing. Years of conditioning means I rarely feel the effects of exhaustion whilst working, so between the hours during which I wear my Thomas the Tank Engine pyjamas, I can be as productive as possible and get as much work done as possible. My overuse of similes in the previous sentence might suggest otherwise, but I swear my excessive desire to use mundane literary techniques is solely a reflection of my personality.

I didn’t really need to explain all of that, nor was there any remotely competent argument above, but I implore my gazillions of readers to consider the following: are we truly immortal until proven otherwise? (Sorry, too much TikTok). Instead, could we spend our time awake better, especially if we are awake ridiculously late already? As such I have fulfilled the promises outlined on the About Us section of the website: I have published my meandering digressions as a blog using my omnipotence as a man publishing blogs. “Big Brother Is Watching You” is the goal, but given that my meeting with Zuckerberg hasn’t been scheduled, the present attempt at a creepy message is: “Gavriel is hoping that you are reading his blogs”.

Many thanks to my amazing readers and have a week without any utopian dictatorships destroying your lives. Again, applications for a fanbase name welcomed in the comments.

Yours sleepily at just past midnight,

The Laird.

Sleep: Man’s Greatest Superpower

5th April 2021

By Nilesh

“Men who sleep 5 hours or less a night have significantly smaller testicles than men who sleep 7 hours or more a night.” Yep, that is what did it, the fact that made me snooze my alarm to get the recommended 7 hours a night. All jokes aside, sleep bequeaths many more prizes than not feeling drowsy and lethargic the next morning. For example, having bigger testicles, as aforementioned.

Ever had to pull an all-nighter in order to complete that history essay you had left until the last minute? Yup, me too. I gotta tell you, I could hardly concentrate in class the next day. I was spending every waking moment trying not to dose off. Content absorbed from the lessons: zilch. Matthew Walker (Professor of neuroscience and psychology) conducted an experiment with 2 groups of people. One group had 8 hours of sleep, whilst the other group pulled an all-nighter. The next day an MRI scan was undertaken by both groups, revealing that the group that pulled an all-nighter absorbed 40% less information than the group with 8 hours of sleep. This is a staggering deficit for only 1 night. Now imagine countless school days operating on minimal sleep. Borderline criminal. Moral of the story kids, if you want straight As you must put in the work. By work, I am referring to getting your nightly 8 hours, although revision may also play some role in exam performance. But that is not the title of the article though, is it?

We live in a world where vaccines are more sought over than pizza. Pizza, really? Nonetheless, the pandemic has shone a newfound light on improving our immune systems. Well, there is no better way to turbocharge your immune system than with sleep. 4 hours of sleep can reduce immune cell activity by 70%. That is mind-blowing. A concerning state of immune deficiency if you will. Neurologists are now finding a strong correlation between a lack of sleep, and the development of various cancers. The link between the 2 is so strong that the World Health Organisation has classed any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen. Who knew that getting that extra hour of sleep could do such good for your health? 

Now you may be “quaking in your boots” at the thought of a lack of sleep doing so much harm to your wellbeing. You may be wondering how to improve the quality of your sleep. Well, your wish is my command. Step one is regularity. Establishing a sleeping pattern is essential. Simply waking up and going to bed at the same time is powerful. I know it may be tempting to slack on the weekends and watch that Netflix series you have been meaning to watch but did not manage to get round to over the week, but don’t. Secondly, ever found it damn near impossible to sleep on holiday when the temperature is up, needed to strip off all your layers to merely get in the zone. This is because your body needs to drop its core temperature by 2-3˚F to initiate sleep. Thus my second tip is to make sure your environment is cool enough to sleep in. 

I am going to round off with a quote from Matthew Walker, “Sleep is the greatest performance-enhancing drug that not enough athletes are abusing.”I would like to challenge everyone reading this to try and squeeze in an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Despite not seeming like a lot, the effects on your health will be game-changing.

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