You know you are doing something right when your 80-year-old mother phones you on a Sunday night for dietary advice!
My mom has never had a problem with her weight – well, not as far as I have noticed – in her entire life. She used to be the one who tried to keep me on the right track. She has always eaten healthily, but lately she has gained a little weight. When she asked me about meal replacements, I could tell her what the Banting experts say (I am NOT calling myself an expert, by the way ?): stay away from them! Eat real food that looks like what it is supposed to be: vegetables that look like real vegetables, an egg, a piece of fish, chicken or meat – nothing artificial.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
When I asked her what she ate, it turned out she sometimes has a muffin for lunch, or a low-fat yoghurt and fruit. And she had no idea how much sugar muffins and low-fat yoghurt contain. Or that the fructose in fruit is still a form of sugar, and that you should be careful how much of it you eat.
Too much sugar is bad for your body. Period. The problem is that we tend to think that muffins and yoghurt are healthy. But just because the packaging says ‘high-fibre’ or ‘low-fat’ doesn’t mean that something is healthy. Unless you read the label, you won’t know how much sugar a product contains. With most muffins – even ‘healthy’ bran muffins – you could just as well be eating cake. And the moment you take the fat out of the yoghurt, it doesn’t taste like much, which is why manufacturers add sugar.
It was good to have this chat with my mom, because it also made me think of my eating habits again, and why I have changed my diet and lifestyle. I must admit that I had two small blocks of nougat this weekend that I found as I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboards. I probably should have just chucked it in the bin, but who wants to throw away food?! The good thing is that I know it is not something I will eat every day, and I really savoured every bite.
Which brings me to the next point: what I will be eating on my holiday trip. I can’t believe that I will be leaving in a little more than a week, on 27 April! On Monday I had time to look at the itinerary for the Ireland part of our trip that my friend Irize sent me, and I can hardly contain my excitement. Listen to the dreamy sound of the names of the B&Bs in the places we will be visiting: Cherrybrook in Avoca, Wicklow; Mystical Rose Country House in Killarney, Kerry; Loughrask Lodge in Ballyvaughan, Clare; Woodbine Cottage in Westport, Mayo; Abbey House in Boyle, Roscommon; Atlantic Shore in Newtown, Bantry, Cork. I can’t wait to see the beautiful scenery and historical attractions, and to experience the local hospitality and culture. As I browsed all the B&Bs’ websites, I also checked what breakfasts are available – and it seems that they all have Banting-friendly options like Irish smoked salmon, bacon, eggs in all forms, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Although it’s not entirely Banting-friendly, I am looking forward to trying the full Irish breakfast – grilled bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, grilled tomato and fried eggs. Many people will probably die before they try black pudding (a kind of blood sausage), but I am not squeamish – I have, after all, eaten haggis (twice!) in Scotland in 2015. (FYI, black pudding is generally made from pork fat or beef suet, pork blood and oatmeal, says Wikipedia. White pudding consists of pork meat and fat, suet, bread and oatmeal formed into a large sausage.)
Hopefully it’s not only the breakfast options in Ireland that are Banting-friendly, but other meals as well!
To end this week’s blog, here is my recipe for chicken curry.
Elmari’s Chicken Curry
Serves 4 to 6
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
8 chicken thighs (± 1kg)
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
2 to 3 star anise
small pinch of ground cardamom (or 2 cardamom seeds, lightly crushed)
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1 tsp garlic, crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes, optional
1 x 400g can peeled, chopped tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large oven casserole and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until golden brown. Season with salt, remove from casserole (leave the excess chicken fat and oil in the casserole) and set aside.
- Add the onion to the casserole and fry until softened and lightly golden. Add the spices, stir to combine and fry for a minute.
- Add the tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil. Taste for seasoning and add salt if preferred.
- Add the chicken pieces, spoon the sauce over them, cover with the lid or foil and place in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. (Turn the chicken pieces halfway through.)
- Garnish with coriander and serve with cauliflower rice.
Diet start date:
1 January 2017
Weight loss this week:
Weight loss so far: