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Low ‘carb’ eating! My thoughts & tips

      This time last year I was about 4.5 kgs heavier than I am now, that’s about 10lb in old money. We had had a very cold spell and I didn’t feel comfortable driving in the snow and ice. So for three weeks I stayed in, worried and comfort ate.
     I love baking bread and eating it. I have a ‘light hand’ as they say with pastry, so I made some pies and quiches. I baked some cakes too. I also hate waste and would finish things up rather than put them in the bin.
     My clothes started to feel tight and the weighing scales wasn’t lying as the weight crept up.
     My daughter was feeling unwell and thought she might be wheat/dairy intolerant. So she went on a wheat and dairy free diet, while waiting for blood test results to come back. Her blood test did not show any wheat or dairy allergies.
     This got me thinking too, so I decided to use lent as my starting point, I would give up wheat in solidarity with her and sugar to cut down on my carbohydrate intake. This covered not having biscuits, cake or scones when out for a coffee with friends. At home I stopped eating rice and spuds with my meals.
     By the end of lent I was feeling better and the weight was coming down. Over the Summer I was no angel and would lapse into eating wheat for a day or two, but I kept an eye on the scales and if it crept up too far I’d stop again.
     I found being busy over the Summer really helped. Only eating meals with no snacks in between, broke my constant need to have food around me.
     I didn’t let myself feel deprived, if there was something yummy around I’d have a taste, generally at the end of a meal when I was full so I would not be tempted to go back for more.
     The most interesting thing I found was that when it came to my Summer cholesterol test, my total cholesterol had gone down. Admittedly I had been taking a garlic supplement and a plant sterol in tablet form for about a month before the fasting blood test.
     I kept up the low wheat & low carbohydrate diet through the Autumn and into the winter.
December was very busy with my part time job becoming almost full time in the run up to Christmas. This was a Godsend in that I didn’t have time to bake and make like last year.

      I enjoyed Christmas, but was cautious not to over indulge in all the goodies that were around. As they say moderation in all things!

Here is a typical days eating for me.

Breakfast: 2 streaky rashers, a tomato & 1 piece of black pudding all grilled. Tea or coffee.

Lunch: Half an avocado, smoked mackerel pâté, celery, cucumber, a handful of walnuts. Water & tea.

Dinner: Salad, lamb & vegetable curry, small helping of brown rice, cheese, a piece of fruit. Wine & water.

     If I come in from work really hungry I might have some olives, salami or peanuts before dinner and skip the cheese and fruit afterwards. If I need a chocolate fix I eat 4-5 squares of Green & Blacks 85% cocoa solids with a cup of tea or coffee.
      I am lucky that even though there are biscuits and chocolate in the house I don’t feel the need to eat them. This is not true for everyone.
      While I do not seem to have bad breath (at least no one has commented) on this diet I do sometimes get constipated. Then I increase the amount of salad, in particular avocado and beetroot I am eating and have extra water during the day. I always bring a bottle of water to work to drink on the way home, as I do not have time to drink much during the day.
     The main thing that is missing from this diet is Crunch!
The crunch of hot buttered toast, crisp biscuit, crisps and crackers to go with cheese. Yes I miss these, but I have discovered mini poppadoms and tortilla chips for dips and cheese. There is no substitute for toast though!
     Pizza and pasta are now a treat once in a while, but I do savour them and I find I can’t eat as much pasta as I use to. 50g of dried pasta is enough of a portion for me when it is cooked and served with a sauce.
      The key has been to try to stick to the three meals a day and no snacking.
Choosing foods that I can eat rather than obsessing about what I can’t eat.
Using cheaper cuts of meat such as stewing beef, lap/ breast of lamb, chicken drumsticks and thighs, as these all have loads of flavour and you notice you are eating them.
Basing meals on vegetables and salads that are in season and adding meat or fish to compliment them.

      And don’t be a martyr, enjoy your food! It has never been so easily available and relatively cheap.

May 2012 be the year of good eating!

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