The Anti-diet: Blah blah moderation blahhh…

Posted in: Featured, Uncategorized

If you do nothing else, heed this tip. I could fill Santa’s sleigh with the Weight Watchers nemesis foods I sample each year, so it’s largely assumed I must have a chocolate spitting bowl. I don’t.  It’s very simple but the vast majority of you won’t like what I’m about to say: I stop eating when I’m full.

The Anti-diet: Blah blah Moderation blahhh...

As obvious as this sounds, it took me a good 6 months to master. Suddenly surrounded by food in my café, Root I got over excited. And of course, a Scot never throws away. Two years in, I was hit by the realisation that 30% of the food I consumed was surplus to requirements and I resembled a prize heifer.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating but it took a significant expanse of cortex to check if I really needed the entire family size trifle – Trifle for One as a friend aptly named it in my honour. For the record, I didn’t sell giant trifles in Root, this was more of a weekend indulgence.

If eating is the highlight of your day, you won’t like the next bit either: We don’t need the volume of food we think. Our stomachs are only the size of our not so giant fists. In fact, portions are 40% bigger than they were 20 years ago. Thank you Supersize America.

Side Plate Eating. Moderation.

In this case, Victoria Beckham’s only eating off a side plate trick isn’t entirely off the mark. I’d gently suggest not taking your own receptacle to dinner parties if you want to keep your friends (and dignity), however.

Coming soon: Breakfast like a king, and why fat and carbs are our friends. Again, applying The Moderation Principle. In the meantime, munch on some wholesomely seductive winter recipes that won’t bust your gut: Zesty fish pie, Mash not Smash, Hummus, Almond butter; even Orange, almond & chocolate cake.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tag on the right or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top of the page.


The Anti-diet

Posted in: Featured, Uncategorized

Sitting here, slurping my liquid lunch (of the soup variety) I wonder, could UK eating habits be considered mildly schizophrenic? With Santa duties and gorging out the way, we Brits need a new goal it would seem. Cue: Beach booty / Alcohol is the enemy / My body is a temple and nothing but raw veggies hand picked by virgin nuns will pass my lips.

Christmas G&Ts with straws

We women (and I apologise in advance for the red rag to a bull sweeping generalisation) are largely programed to derive more than a healthy dose of sense of self from our appearance and percentage body fat. I don’t do diets, yet I’m off solids in a desperate attempt to shed Mince Pie Top. I split my leggings at Christmas. Case rests. On confessing my cognitive disposition, several male friends bravely admitted to feeling my pain, so it’s no longer just us dollies, sadly.

Writing this blog and working in food, I’m often asked for the wholesomely seductive Holy Grail. For me, food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I pick holiday destinations and social events based almost entirely on the street eats I’ll sample and later adapt at home.

Maltby Street Market Cakes

It’s common knowledge that yo-yo dieting does not, in the long term, a slimmer figure make. A zero fat / carb / dairy diet would leave me bereft of joy, not to mention unemployed. And surely abstinence just makes the heart grow fonder, right? However, I also derive a significant amount of happiness from feeling fit and healthy, and squeezing into jeans that would be snug on a fifteen year old ballerina.

As this blog extols, food is fuel; it should not only taste good but do us good. Throughout January and February, I’ll blog my tips for living your life; employing a modicum of consciousness into your daily nourishment; and opting out of chronic and tortuous calorie counting along the way.

I guarantee you’ll feel healthier, have more energy and, should you so desire, lose weight in the process. Unless, unlike me, you’ve somehow seen the light and don’t subscribe to our skinny = success cultural diktat.


Clare’s spicy nuts

Posted in: DF, N, S, V, WF

I’ve been a bit of a scrooge with this recipe – it took a lot (!!) of amends to get the sticky, chilli clusters just right. However, I shared with a colleague, then another, and now Clare’s Spicy Nuts feature in the Gather & Gather marketing pack with said secret recipe launching across 250 restaurants. Humph.


Filling and packed with protein and goodness, nuts are an ideal snack. Snack being the operative word; mini portions are key! Don’t be put off by the biblically proportioned ingredients; they’re largely spices and prep takes all of 10 mins.


200g almonds
100g cashews
100g pecans
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
2 egg whites
4 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp crushed chillies
1 tsp chipotle / smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar


Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 390°F. Whisk egg whites to form soft peaks.

Stir through spices and nuts, followed by honey and brown sugar.

Transfer to a baking tray, or two (keeping to one layer of nuts for even toasting) and cook for 20 mins, or till the nuts have browned. Stir  half way through for even toasting.

I like to keep in a kilner jar to dip into mid-morning or as a pre dinner party snack.

Check out Storehouse Seducer Almonds for more reasons to snack on Spicy nuts – think anti-oxidants, vitamins, fibre, magnesium, cholesterol & GI lowering; the benefits are endless.