Tag Archives: food

Food sensitivity and weight loss

Picture of Fran Benson
Fran Benson

If you’ve been following these last few blog posts then you’ll know that I started a food sensitivity test a little while ago.  If you haven’t read about that then click on this link and work your way forward).

For a while I’ve felt that not all foods agree with me but I couldn’t work out which ones.  Also, bombarded with all the different messages from the media and research it’s so confusing to know what constitutes a healthy diet: no carb, low carb, low fat, high protein, vegetarian, paleo, avoid fruit and so on?

The list is endless and there is always a group of people to advocate each position.  I aim to eat a “clean” diet which means eating food as naturally as possible and avoiding refined carbohydrates, and even though I think this is healthy there is still this question in my mind – is this right for me? And is there anything I could be doing to eat better?

So I started this test with four objectives:

  1. To identify any foods that provoke a food sensitivity reaction
  2. To become more aware of how different foods make me feel
  3. To try some new foods and recipes & finally
  4. To lose the three or four pounds I’d put on during my summer of cream teas and pasties

Although I haven’t finished the test yet  I have already achieved all of the above.  But for today I’m going to talk about the fourth point: weight loss.

Weight Loss

I didn’t have high expectations in this area.  As I’ve mentioned I had put on just a few pounds during the summer months which was a combination of taking on a lot of writing work (which means sitting on my bottom a lot and not moving very much) and eating indulgently on holiday.

But my expectations were also low because since having children my weight settled for a long time around the ten and a half stone mark.  When I worked  out at an intense level with Julia Buckley’s Fat Burn Revolution programme I took off half a stone over 12 weeks to take me to 9 stone 13 lbs and when I did it the second time I went down to 9 stone 8 lbs.

However when I stopped working out so hard my weight crept back up to settle at 9 stone 12 lbs rising again during my summer of excess.

Now it’s important to understand that Julia’s programme changed my body shape (for the better) so actually I was happy at 9 stone 12lbs and that’s where I was aiming for, particularly as I was not going to be exercising at the same rate and I’d resigned myself to believing that my body gives up every ounce of weight grudgingly when I drop below ten stone – believe me it’s hard work.

So, I have now completed four weeks of testing and I have steadily been losing 2lbs a week.  I can’t say it’s been effortless because the first week was hellish.  However since then it’s been pretty easy – although I must admit that as I’ve tested and added in each new food it’s taken me closer to how I was eating before I started – with the exception of milk and those foods that I have yet to test.

I used to find that I could lose a couple of pounds and then overnight three pounds would appear out of nowhere.  I could never understand why that would happen.  Now I’m beginning to believe that maybe it was down to a food sensitivity – in this case milk and possibly other foods that I haven’t identified yet.

I started the test at 10 stone 2lbs and at the end of week 4 had dropped to 9 stone 6lbs – a weight I haven’t seen since my early twenties.

I’m shocked at how those pounds seem to have melted away without me undertaking lots of exercise (I have been running twice a week and doing a little yoga each morning).

I’ve still got a few weeks to go before I’ve tested all of the foods on the list in the book and can’t believe that I will lose any more weight – I certainly have no desire to but equally if I do, as long as it isn’t drastic, I don’t mind.  Well who would?

I’d be really interested to hear of anyone else’s experience in food sensitivity testing.  Have you tried it? Did you find that you were sensitive to any particular foods? Did you lose weight by eliminating them?

Leave me a comment below and let me know about your experience.  Or if you’re interested to find out more ask me a question.

 

 

 

 

Where I uncover a culprit in food sensitivity testing

Glass of milk and piece of broccoli
Two food stuffs tested this week

So this was an exciting week where I started to test different food stuffs to see if I had a reaction to them.

If you remember I spent the previous week on a very limited diet of just those foods that are considered not to cause sensitivities.  This was very dull but once the testing process started, even though you only get to add in two foods a day it’s amazing how much difference it made to how I felt about what I could cook for my dinner.

I was insanely excited to add broccoli back in on that first evening and not surprisingly I showed no reaction to it at all and have been eating it ever since.

Food Sensitivity Reactions

So how do I know if I’m having a reaction to a type of food or not?  Well, one of the things that I’ve had to do each day is weigh myself morning and evening (before breakfast and dinner respectively).

This was a bit of a chore and twice I forgot to do it in the evening.  However I still did enough to see a pattern; every day I gained between 0.5 and 1.5lbs and every night I lost between 1 and 1.75 lbs.

So the key thing to look out for is an increase during the day or night outside of that normal range.  On top of that there might be some other symptoms such as fatigue or headache.

So I kept on testing.  Here’s a breakdown of a couple of days to show you how it plays out:

Red pepper with my breakfast – gained 1lb 2oz during the day

Chicken with my dinner – lost 1lb 8oz over night

Tap water (yes I spent a week drinking only bottled water!) with my breakfast – gained 1lb during the day

Peppermint tea with my dinner – lost 1lb over night

The objective at this point is to introduce/test as many foods as possible.  If you discover a food that causes a reaction then you have to wait until the reaction is passed before you can test any more foods.

Finding the guilty culprit

So midway through the week I tested milk.  Dairy was on my hit list from the beginning – more from the perspective of greek yoghurt which I consume in large quantities.  However I have never liked milk.  I was the kid in school crying when they bought the bottles of milk in to be drunk.  I can’t tolerate it in porridge or smoothies and substitute water or oat milk in its place.  If I don’t it will leave me nauseous and with stomach cramps for a day. Having said that I can manage it in smaller quantities on cereal or in Yorkshire puddings.

I faced this test with some trepidation.  I poured a small amount into a cup and, holding my breath, knocked it back.

I thought I’d avoid the feelings of nausea with such a small amount but they kicked in within 20 minutes. By lunchtime I was feeling fuzzy headed, had stomach cramps and an upset stomach and I felt overwhelmed with tiredness.  Later in the day I noticed an acute pain in my knees as I came down the stairs and my lower back went as well – for no apparent reason.

I dragged myself through the afternoon and remembering to weigh myself was shocked to see my weight had increased by 2lbs 4ozs.  I know the book had said that there would be a weight increase (due to inflammation) but I was still surprised by this.

I didn’t feel bigger or bloated or anything that would indicate that I had gained weight. Just tired, nauseous and generally out of sorts.

The other thing I noticed was that I developed cravings to randomly eat during the afternoon.  It wasn’t hunger. It was just the desire to pick at carby foods.  If I ate biscuits and cakes I would gladly have tucked into them then.

What’s potentially really interesting about that is the fact that I get that craving feeling after I eat greek yoghurt.  I’ve always put it down to the fruit I mix into the yoghurt creating a spike in my blood sugar, but perhaps it’s the dairy element that’s to blame?

I’ll find out when I test greek yoghurt next week.

It took a couple of days for it all to settle down and then I carried on testing more foods.

So it looks like I’ll be looking to eliminate milk from my diet.  John Mansfield (the author) suggests that if you have a weight gain to a certain food that you can retest it a week or so later.  However he says that if you have a weight gain and other symptoms such as headache etc then it is almost certainly a food sensitivity for you so I am confident that this is the case for me.

I’ll wrap up there. I purposefully haven’t talked about weight loss…but I’m going to cover that one next week because that’s where it gets even more interesting.

Super 7 fruit and veg for kids

Jacket potato with chilli and saladIt’s impossible to pick up a newspaper without the latest advice on what we should or shouldn’t be eating and sometimes the research and advice is so contradictory it can be hard to know what to eat.

However I don’t think there’s any doubt that eating fruit and vegetables are a good thing to do to be healthy.

Just this week we’ve seen that we need to be eating more than the government recommended five a day.  Some research suggests eating seven portions can reduce the chance of an early death and some experts are even suggesting up to ten portions a day.

I must admit I was pleased to see these figures – my own personal experience tells me that the more “plant-based” food I eat, the healthier I feel.

And so it’s not surprising that I encourage my children to eat healthily too.  That’s not to say that they don’t eat cake and sweets but I try to keep them to a minimum and encourage them to fill up at meal times with fruit, salad and vegetables.

Back in January, in a bid to eat more of the green (red, yellow, orange and blue) stuff and less of the refined products (for that read sugar) we launched an initiative called Super 7 days.

This was two days a week where the children had to find seven different fruit and vegetables to eat during the course of the day.

The rules were simple – and discussed and agreed with them before hand so they bought into it from the concept:

1. Juice didn’t count

2. Dried fruit could only be counted once

3. Portion size wasn’t crucial but they couldn’t for example count just one blueberry it had to be a handful

4. There were no cakes, biscuits etc on Super 7 days.

The children were quite excited about this – they love a competition and they wanted to outdo each other – and I threw in a chart and stickers for the younger two which always seems to produce results.  So we were off to a good start.

I discovered some interesting things in this experiment.

1. The children didn’t moan or whine if they forgot the no sugar rule on these days.  If they asked for a biscuit I just said “no, it’s a super 7 day today,” and they were like “ok,” rather than the usual begging, pleading, cajoling routine.

2. They were keen to get more fruit or veg so they asked me to give them more.

3. Because their focus was on achieving the goal I was able to give them meals they hadn’t tried before without the usual: “What’s this? Do I like it?” instead if they could see that it had vegetables in they were more interested about how many vegetables it would give them towards their daily count and guess what – they just ate it.

4. It made me raise my game a bit.  Some times in the morning when I’m making the lunches it’s easy to throw in a bag of dried fruit and think that’ll do.  But because I wanted them to succeed I was chopping up cucumber, carrot sticks, washing blueberries, slicing apples etc

They didn’t always hit the magic seven.  sometimes they only got to five, but sometimes they got to eight.  However we celebrated them all, because at 5, 6 and 11 years old I think that looking for ways to eat more fruit and veg is something to be celebrated.

Unfortunately Super 7 took a bit of a hit over the last half term and never got properly reinstated.  Although habits certainly got changed and we are at five portions of fruit and veg a day on a regular basis.

However reading those newspaper articles this week has reminded me that we really do need to ensure we get more fruit and vegetables into our daily diet.  So with the Easter holidays upon us, the season of chocolate, it seems like a good time to start again.

The format may get changed a little, I’ll be consulting with the children later how they’d like to see it implemented and then we’ll get on it again.

Halfway through TFBR

Fran Benson portrait-006
Image of Fran Benson

So I’m halfway through phase 2 of The Fat Burn Revolution which is also halfway through the whole programme.

I’m feeling fitter and stronger and pleased to see that my waist has dropped below the 28 inch marker which was my overall goal when starting to exercise again with the first phase.

It’s a different experience second time around.  First time there was a slightly obsessional feel about it.  I was determined to achieve all of my goals inside 12 weeks then dust  myself down and get on with life.

But somewhere along the way things changed which is why I’m here in my second round.

I can clearly remember though that phase 2 of TFBR last year was a testing time.  The enthusiasm of beginning something new had waned and I was looking forward to the end, which felt like a long time away.

Phase 2 was also when I started to make some tweaks to my diet.  Less starches (bread, potato and pasta) and more vegetables, pulses and fats (lentils, chickpeas, avocado and coconut oil).  I probably didn’t get the balance quite right to start with and felt flat and lacking in energy.

I persevered but it was hard sometimes to do my work outs when I hadn’t got my fuelling right.

But then it all started to come together: I was eating the right foods in the right quantities and feeling strong again.

This hasn’t happened to me this time.  Probably because with a pretty solid nutrition base behind me I haven’t had to make those changes – they were already in place.

But there have been different challenges.  Two weeks ago the builders moved in and ripped out our kitchen and I had no cooking or washing facilities.

Whereas normally I plan my week’s menu in advance I didn’t even know if I’d have electricity on any given day.  I was relying on a slow cooker, a steamer and a camping stove and if all else failed the pub or my mum.

I’ve made the best food choices I can under the circumstances but they haven’t always been the ones that I would have made had I had the full range of facilities available to me that I normally do.

But life is settling back into some sort of normality.  My kitchen isn’t quite my own yet – decorators like to cover everything up in sheets for the day – but I am back to planning my weekly menu.

My workouts haven’t slipped once.  I’m generally finished and dressed before the builders have turned up – although there have been a few close calls when I’ve nipped downstairs for a glass of water in my crop top and shorts only to hear the key in the lock just as I’m scurrying up the stairs again.

I think the biggest change this time round is that I no longer see it as something with an end to it.  Yes the programme is 12 weeks so there is an end in that sense but eating more healthily and exercising – really exercising and pushing myself harder – has become embedded into my lifestyle.

So although I’m looking forward to where I’m going to be in six weeks time in terms of results and fitness levels I’m also wondering what I’ll do next.

I’ll certainly do another round of TFBR after a brief gap but I think I’d like to get out and do a bit more running and try a couple of weights based fitness dvds that I’ve seen mixed up with a workout or two from TFBR as well.

It feels like there is a huge world of fitness possibility just waiting for me to explore and that I will get fitter and healthier as I carry on on this journey.

 

 

The food that I eat

Ingredients for fruity greek yoghurt
Fruity greek yoghurt with cocoa

Since doing Julia Buckley’s Fat Burn Revolution last year I’ve made some changes to the food that I eat.  And as I regularly get asked: “What do you eat?” it seems to be something that people are interested in.

In truth it isn’t massively different to what I ate before.  I used to always eat protein at every meal, eat wholegrain foods rather than refined white carbs and eat lots of vegetables and a little fruit.

So I thought I’d talk about the changes that I made.  I believe that if you start to take things out of your diet it’s generally a good idea to replace what you take out with some other choices – albeit healthier ones – or you’ll start to feel deprived pretty quick.

So before TFBR my breakfasts were either: a bacon or sausage sandwich, greek yoghurt with fruit and almonds or sometimes a chicken stir-fry.

Because I was trying to cut down on processed carbohydrates, in this case the bread, I changed my bacon sandwich to either grilled bacon and chopped apple or bacon pan fried with cabbage, onion and mushroom.  The sausage sandwich became sausage with roast sweet potato wedges and broccoli and the yoghurt and stir-fry options didn’t change.  Occasionally I still have a sausage sandwich but I have to say that now it is more for convenience than for taste.

Lunches before were either homemade soup, left overs from dinner, a jacket potato with cheese or chilli or a sandwich.

I take the time now to make a lot more soups and that is my preferred lunch.  If I’ve got some interesting leftovers then I’ll heat them up with some veg.  I haven’t had a sandwich or jacket potato for lunch for quite some time.  Occasionally I’ll have yoghurt or salad but if I’m honest I’m not the biggest fan of salad and certainly not when the weather is cold so I stick to the things that I like.

Finally dinner.  Well I’ve never gone down the route of cooking something different for the children so I have to cook things that work for them as well as me.  But you know, this is really the simple bit.  We eat chilli, casseroles, roasts, curries, bolognese etc.  Along with the vegetables they eat them with pasta or rice or potatoes just like I used to do.  I have mine with extra vegetables, sometimes a bit of rice or a new potato, sometimes with some sweet potato or a portion of lentils or a pile of chopped cucumber, red onion and avocado.

I don’t go hungry – ever.  I love the food that I eat and I feel lighter in myself and I’m not talking about the weight that you measure on the scales but the feeling that my insides are cleaner just from putting cleaner foods through it.

I drink loads of water too.  I find that the healthier I eat the more water I need to drink and I regularly get through two to three litres a day.

Here’s a favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner that I thought I’d share:

Fruity yoghurt – ideal for breakfast, post-workout snack or even a dessert.

2 heaped tablespoons of full fat greek yoghurt (the picture above shows 0% fat but Sainsburys had sold out of the full fat version.  However because I like to eat fat I compensated by adding oil to the yoghurt – first olive oil and then progressing to coconut oil and it’s even yummier as a result).

2 heaped tablespoons of berries of choice (I use Sainsbury’s frozen blueberries and strawberries)

1 heaped teaspoon of cocoa

2 teaspoons of coconut oil

1 small handful of toasted flaked almonds

Blend everything (apart from the almonds) together with a stick blender until well mixed. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Eat and enjoy:)

The recipe has evolved over time.  I first started making it with fresh pineapple too as I liked it sweeter.  As my taste buds have changed I’ve dropped the pineapple.  I also started off with just a tiny bit of cocoa and the almonds are a more recent addition.  So feel free to experiment with it and see what you enjoy.

Tomato and lentil soup

250g red lentils

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 rashers streaky bacon (I preferred smoked)

1 large onion – chopped

1 garlic clove – chopped

1 celery stick – chopped

14 oz can tomatoes

1 green or red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

600ml stock – chicken or vegetable or even water is fine

salt and pepper

Place lentils in a jug and cover in cold water.  Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry bacon, onion, garlic and celery over a low heat until softened.  Drain the lentils and chuck in the pan with the tomatoes, chilli, paprika, cumin and stock and stir well and season.

Cover pan and simmer gently for 40 minutes.  It is quite a thick soup so if you prefer a little runnier just add more water/stock at the end.

Chicken Fajitas

Ok so this is fajitas without the wrap.  My children love the wrap, as does my husband, but I’m perfectly happy without.

So slice up some chicken breast, onion and peppers and grab a pack of Discovery Fajita Seasoning Mix (yes it’s probably possible to make this mix and if anyone has a recipe, please share, but for convenience this is what I use).

Mix the chicken with some oil and the spice mix and fry in a wok until nearly cooked through. Tip in the peppers and onions and fry for a further few minutes.

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and wraps.  Depending on how “clean” I want to eat will determine how much of the extras I eat but generally I’ll have a bit of cheese, cream and guacamole.

I also think that it is important to keep looking for new recipes and foods to try.  This week I’m buying the ingredients to make a minestrone soup that I’ve been recommended – this one uses quinoa instead of pasta so that will be interesting.  The other recipe is for a coco-nutty granola which is made with coconut flakes, coconut oil and lots of different types of nuts.

I might not like them although I’m already guessing the soup will be a winner.  But if I do, then I’ll have added a couple of new breakfasts and lunch to my repertoire to ring the changes.

The jelly bean and alcohol diet

moving comfort-017I thought that title might catch your attention.  Not heard of that diet? Hmm…you didn’t know me in the nineties then.

Seriously, back then when I used to “do” diets I swore by Rosemary Conley.  I cut out butter on my bread and ate low fat.

There was a very strong “fat is bad” and “carbs are good” message going around.  So I cut down on the chocolate and chose jelly beans instead.  Lots of them.  I ate them by the bag full.  After all they contained no fat, only sugar and that was a carbohydrate which meant it was good.

I swigged copious amounts of alcohol too and whilst I knew it probably wasn’t all that healthy (not in the quantities I was drinking anyway) it had no fat so that sort of meant it was ok too.

I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel that great at the time.  I lurched from one sugar or alcohol fuelled high to slumps of such epic proportions you needed a shovel to dig me out.

There are two points to this story (probably a few more than that but they don’t paint me in a good light).  One is that sometimes, even through the best of intentions, the science isn’t right. And secondly, we need to be selective and think through the choices we make, not because some report or scientist or government tells us to but based on what that choice does for us.

It’s a tricky world and there is a lot of conflicting information about what is good and bad to eat.

According to the NHS website a healthy diet consists of: 1/3 fruit and veg; 1/3 bread, rice, pasta, potato; approx. 1/6 each for dairy/milk and meat/fish/eggs/beans and finally approx. 1/10 for sugar and fat.

But is that right? I have to say that doesn’t work for me and I’m not convinced that it is necessarily right for others too.  The problem is that we’ve been running down the path of “fat-bad; carbs-good” for so long that it’s hard to stop and turn around and run the other way.

Until recently I pretty much kept to the NHS guidelines I outlined above.  However if you’ve read my earlier post about food you’ll know that because of The Fat Burn Revolution programme that I’m involved in at the moment I was exploring eating less of the starchy, processed carbs.

I did this with some trepidation but there were a couple of things that I read about recently that made me think that  maybe these decisions were healthy ones after all.

First there was an article in the British Medical Journal by Dr Aseem Malhotra about saturated fat not being the baddie that it has long been purported to be and how carbohydrates may well play a significant part in heart disease.  I’m simplifying the message quite considerably here but you can read about it here. (edited link from original post as that became obsolete).

The second was news that the Swedish government are the first western nation to revise their national nutritional guidelines to reduce carbohydrates and increase fat (see this link for more info).

Now I’m not saying either of these are necessarily right (and I’m not suggesting that you go and eat a pound of butter or anything) but they support what I’m trying to do and they gave me a different but authoritative viewpoint.  I felt happier cutting down on the bread, pasta and potatoes after reading these but also knew that I’d need to get some extra energy from somewhere.  So I’m eating more beans, chickpeas and lentils and increasing my fat intake with avocados and coconut oil.

It’s too early to say if eating like this is better for me.  But this is what I’ve noticed so far:

1. When I eat like this quite strictly my energy levels soar. I need less sleep and I wake up raring to go.

2. On sunday night, after a heavy roast (with potatoes and yorkshire pudding) I sleep deeply and wake up tired.

3. The more carbohydrate I eat the hungrier I seem to be and I eat more in volume.

4. I don’t like avocado that much (but I’m working on it).

I don’t know whether this is the “right” way to eat. I can only go by what and how I feel because history has proven to me that the doctors and scientists don’t have all the answers.

So what do you think?  How do you eat and how do you feel? I’d love to know…

 

The Fat Burn Revolution programme: mid point results

Workout shot from week 3 of The Fat Burn Revolution
Workout shot from week 3 of the Fat Burn Revolution

I was hoping to write this post last week, but as it was half term my children had other ideas.  So technically I’m just past half way through the programme I started back in September but I thought it about time I shared the results so far.

The question I get asked the most is: “How much weight have you lost?” and it’s actually the question I want to answer the least.  Not because I’m not proud of the fact that I’m half a stone lighter now than I was seven weeks ago but because it doesn’t tell you very much.

Let’s face it, I could live on cabbage and water for a week and I’d lose half a stone and we all know that I’d put it back on again the following week.

This has been different.  I’ve worked out five or six times a week: sometimes with heavy weights and sometimes doing high intensity running in bursts of 30-60 seconds at a time.

I’ve changed some of the things that I’ve been eating.  I stopped eating sugar around 18 months ago so I didn’t have to worry about that and I rarely eat refined products like white bread and pasta, preferring the wholewheat versions.  I’ve upped my fruit and legume intake and concentrated on eating as healthily as I can.

So where does that leave me?  Well the numbers that I was interested in changing were my body fat percentage and the size of my waist.  Then after I’d taken my initial photos I realised my bottom needed some serious work too!

Back in September my body fat was around 35% (which equated to around 51 lbs of fat). It’s now fluctuating around 31% (which equates to around 43 lbs of fat).  I’m really chuffed with this. I keep imagining what the 8lbs of fat that I’ve lost looks like and it ain’t pretty.

My waist has dropped by 11cms (that’s just over 4 inches) against a target of losing 15cms or more.  I’m thrilled at this.  There’s still work to be done but I can feel muscle underneath and as a bonus of strengthening my core my back is feeling stronger than it has in a long time.

My bottom (I measured around the widest part of me) has gone down by 3cms.  Now I know this doesn’t sound much but I’m as pleased about this as I am about my waist.

Why? Well that’s a good question.  The measurement just doesn’t do justice to what has been going on with my bottom and legs.  When I started they were a bit lumpy, bumpy and with more than their fair share of cellulite.

Now I’m pleased to say that there is hardly any cellulite left and my bottom is looking, dare I say it, peachy?  I don’t think I’ve ever described my bottom in such glowing terms.

So with five weeks to go I’m feeling enthused and confident that there will be more positive changes to report on in December.  Woo hoo, let’s go.

By the way, if you’re feeling inspired to try any of this yourself, Julia’s book The Fat Burn Revolution has just appeared on Amazon ready for pre-order.

Food glorious food

Healthy Lunch
Healthy lunch

I promised a few weeks ago to write about the food I’m eating on Julia Buckley’s Fat Burn Revolution programme.

I thought this was going to be an easy post to write.  I mean I ate pretty healthily before the programme (no sugar, very little refined goods, rarely any alcohol) so this was just going to be more of what I normally ate.

And at first it was.  My only change in the first week was to increase the amount of water I drank and to make some healthy wholesome soups for my lunch (eg. sweet potato and chickpea or spicy lentil and tomato).

I carried on with my bacon sandwiches for breakfast and ate normal dinners with rice, potato or pasta.

But Julia recommends minimising processed carbohydrates (that’ll be the bread and pasta element) and eating more unprocessed carbs (fruit and vegetables – although that doesn’t mean increasing the potatoes just in case you were wondering).

Now I’m the first to admit that I was pretty resistant to this. I mean wholemeal bread and pasta are healthy carbs aren’t they? And with all the extra exercise I’ve been doing I figured I needed the energy.

But Julia seemed to think otherwise.

So I cut a little bit out here and there. I swapped my bacon sandwiches for bacon with saute potatoes, onion and cabbage (which I love incidentally) and I chose potatoes (the new, old and sweet varieties) over pasta and sometimes didn’t have any at all, just vegetables with my meal.

At first I struggled to eat enough and was supplementing with snacks of peanuts, carrot and humus or cheese and raisins.  Then I felt a bit low for a few days, so I started eating a bit more fruit and increasing the vegetables and chucking in a few extra chickpeas and lentils in to my dinners.

And now it feels like it’s all back in balance.  Curiously I feel a little more energetic too. I must admit I’m a bit puzzled by it all.  It throws into question some of my beliefs about food and so I’m going to keep going for the moment and see how I feel.

I’m still going to eat a little bread here and there but mostly I’m planning on eating more fruit, veg and pulses along with my lean protein (chicken, steak, fish etc).

By the way the picture above shows a lunch I had a few weeks ago: chilli with a jacket potato and salad.  I’m eating the same lunch today but I’ve added chick peas into my chilli and I’m having it with an avocado and some salad and without the jacket potato – and it’s just as filling this way.

I won’t say I’m converted just yet but I’m beginning to think this is a healthier way for me to eat.

Next week will see me half way through the programme so I’ll be sharing with you some of the results so far (which I’m pretty excited about).