I bake. I write about cakes. I love cake. The problem is, I feel like I’m living a bit of a lie. You see, when I’m not being all cakey, I’m actually on a low carb and no sugar diet. That’s right, I don’t eat bread, potatoes, rice, grains, pasta (you can feel the despair of my Italian father can’t you!)…no chocolate, haribo, ice cream, jam, nutella, caramel sauce…you get the picture.
Over the years I’ve dabbled with a few different diets with varying degrees of success. Slimming World (slow but effective), Weightwatchers (ditto), Atkins (meaty), calorie counting (easy but obsessive and not that healthy!), Heart Surgery diet (tuna, ritz crackers and cottage cheese – awful!), crazy exercising, intermittent fasting (aka 5:2)….
I was quite the chubster at one point, after university, where beer, cider, pizzas and junk took their toll. I got down to a reasonable size with Weightwatchers about 10 years ago but since then I’ve yo-yo’d a couple of stone up and down, so it hasn’t been massive amounts I’ve needed to lose (until I had my second child!). Our family is Italian, consequently we’ve always eaten well…and by well, I mean lots! But it was good, real food cooked from scratch, fresh ingredients and always yummy. Except for that phase where mum got loads of Vesta microwave meals because they were all the rage. Prawn paella, anyone?
So I’ve always known about real cooking and I thought I knew about nutrition too, but as it’s come to light that sugar, not fat, is the real bad guy I decided (after a lot of umming and aahing) that I’d try to give up sugar, mostly. I was inspired by my lovely friend Jenny, who has lost an incredible 7 stone in 9 months and looks and feels fabulous. Seeing her gave me the push I needed.
I follow a way of eating called The Harcombe Diet. Not as strictly as I should, but I do adhere to the main principles most of the time. Except when there’s cake club. But even then, I do that one cake sesh then get right back into my normal eating style.
Developed by Zoe Harcombe, this diet is all about cutting out refined and processed foods and eating proper, real food. It does allow for carbohydrates but the key is not to mix them with fats and proteins. You’re aiming to identify food intolerances, candida and if you’re hypoglycemic. This happens by cutting right back then gradually reintroducing foods and seeing how your body reacts. And here’s the other biggy – it’s not low fat. Hard to get your head around when all the advice for donkeys years has been that fat is bad for you. So, it’s a bit paleo (and loads of paleo recipes work well on Harcombe), definitely not Atkins, and refreshingly easy once you get into the swing of it.
Why am I sharing all this? I don’t intend to make this into a blog about my weight loss or health, but I would like to share occasional low carb recipes. I’d also like to see whether there really is scope for a lifestyle like this that incorporates cake! I’d like to be able to maintain the two…will I succeed, or will I just fall into a big cakey heap?!