MORE TOAST PLEASE – For the last couple of weeks I’ve been on a radically low carb, relatively high protein diet. When I say low, I don’t mean, cutting out the odd slice of bread, I mean, a total of 20g of carbs a day. That means most vegetables (unless they’re green and watery) and most fruit (apart from rhubarb and occasionally raspberries) are too high! For someone who loves toast, chocolate and has an apple a day habit, this has been somewhat hard.
I noticed many years ago that I had an intolerance to wheat and that if I had high glycemic index carbs (anything white basically!) I would have awful blood sugar swings, migraines and put on weight. So I cut down on carbs and now try to only eat wholegrains, such as brown rice, wholemeal pasta, granary bread. Last autumn I saw nutritionist, Jamie Richards, who specialises in training athletes and is a proponent of low starch diets. I said that I want to be healthy, slimmer with more muscle definition, and have plenty of energy. I need the fuel from carbs for my runs, but then I don’t burn off enough calories to make a difference. Jamie checked my iron and vitamin D levels (both low) and recommended SpaTone, which is iron-rich water from a spring in Wales and doesn’t cause digestive problems like constipation. He advised taking Bio-D Mulsion Forte vitamin D drops and Allicin – a high dosage garlic supplement to help protect me from all the bugs my two year old daughter ‘shares’ with me.
Jamie’s advice is that cutting down carbs and boosting protein and good fats, pushes the body to burn fat instead of sugars, helping one become more fuel efficient (there are more calories in fat than sugar and most of us have plenty to burn) and leaner. He advised me to eat healthy fat and higher quality protein (I’m vegetarian) such as shakes with Vital Nutrition whey powder and at least 2 eggs a day.
At first I didn’t notice much difference and his prescribed two week kick-start diet didn’t work for me. Afterwards, I realised that might have been because Jamie hadn’t calculated the carbs properly as it included sweet potato, quinoa and buckwheat pancakes, which are all pretty high in carbs (and I did have the odd glass of wine!). I have now recalculated my carb intake with the help of Rose Elliot’s The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet book and finished the two week plan.
I am slightly leaner. I look a little more defined and although I’ve only lost 3 pounds in weight, I’ve burned 2% of body fat without doing any cardio (I tore my calf muscle at the start of the fortnight). I don’t think eating 20g of carbs a day is healthy long term (and isn’t what Jamie recommends): my plan is to follow a high protein and healthy fat, low carb diet most of the time, which will include eating a wide range of vegetables and fruit, and I’ll sneak some carbs back in now again to satisfy my cravings for bread! However, as we are just about to go on holiday, the abs I briefly glimpsed are shortly to be covered by a layer of brie and bread!
Photos by Sadia Khawaja