The Anti-diet: Carbs v. protein

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I once paid exorbitant amounts of cash to see a fit guru who promptly rigged me up to a mask attached to lots of wires, while making me stretch my poor little heart to breaking point on various apparatus. I only learned calories the year before (goodbye family size trifle) and have zero comprehension of my weight, so this was a little out of character. It was surprisingly useful however: I learned that eating nothing but kumquats can make you fat.


Apparently, the body likes a little protein with carbs. If eaten in isolation, carbohydrate may as well be a lump of lard, it would seem. OK, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but I find the visual helps me focus.

It’s all down to our blood sugar levels. In the interests of keeping you awake, I’ll abstain from the over convoluted workings of the Glycaemic Index, just heed this: High GI foods (the white stuff: tatties, pasta etc) turn almost instantaneously to sugar in the body, producing insulin (= sugar rush, then slump), which tells your body to store fat. So you see, starving yourself on Snack A Jacks and blueberries will not only make you miserable, devoid of dinner party invites and probably unwell, you’ll gain weight.

Before you frantically renounce all ingredients bar celery, however, we need carbohydrates for energy, and to prevent us being likened to an irritable Devil Wears Prada Diva. All our shrewd bodies crave is a mix of protein, fat, fibre and carbs.


Mother nature (and the supermarket World Foods aisle) has fortuitously provided us with a cornucopia of options, not to mention wheat alternatives, if we’re ever so slightly open minded.

As our Seducers explain, pulses and quinoa, with their mix of carbs, fibre and protein, are a veritable gift from the Gods to be coveted. They’re also super easy to incorporate into soups, stews, salads and fritters: Quinoa, lentil & feta salad, Courgette & prawn fritters (made with chickpea flour).

Avocado, cottage cheese & vegemite on sourdough

Eggs, olive oil, nuts, lean meats and avocado are not to be avoided on pain of death; they are our friends. In moderation (blah blahhh). Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty good news.

Some other protein hit recipes: HummusGaram masala & tamarind chickenBramble Bircher or Almond butter.

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The Anti-diet: Keep calm & hydrate

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Yup, the old 2 litres a day mandate. Groan! Believe it or not though, hunger pangs are often our bodies signalling for fluids. Have a glass of water and give it 10 minutes before eating; you may be surprised.

Water bottles

Either way, the dull old hydration debate is not to be sniffed at. Water aids digestion and reduces the fat we absorb from our meal. It flushes out toxins and excess sodium, prevents fluid retention, is crucial for our organs and helps concentration. Even low levels of dehydration can cause attention levels to plummet.

And in the same waiting vein, sitting to enjoy and chew your food properly is key. I know there are never enough hours in the day but scoffing at break neck speed means we tend to eat more than we need before realising we’re full: It takes 15 minutes for the gut to clock it’s at capacity.

The Anti-diet: Keep Calm & Hydrate. Wholesome Seduction

There’s also the matter of our poor digestion. When we’re on the move blood is diverted to the muscles, causing our colon to work at half speed. So women, sometimes multi-tasking isn’t all its cracked up to be.

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The Anti-diet: Breakfast like a king

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

… and supper like a pauper. This is not an old wives tale. In actual fact, for many of us Brits consumed with work, breakfast is a coffee, and lunch a sandwich that can be eaten On the Go. The evening meal is our chance to blow all those daily-banked calories. You have the entire day to burn off breakfast; supper sleeps with you.

I‘ve counselled several baffled friends over their growing girths in spite of having abstained all day in anticipation of their man-sized pasta dinner with The New Boy. See last week’s Moderation tip (Side plate eating).

It’s like this: When you starve yourself, your body thinks it needs to conserve energy, goes into hibernation mode and so burns less calories. When you finally eat, your clever body stores (yup, stores) any fat as a back-up in the eventuality you’ll deprive it again.

Eating breakfast tells you you’re awake and kick starts your metabolism. Eating smaller meals (stopping when you’re comfortable as opposed to undoing a button), 3 – 4 times a day makes sense to your digestion. Let it do its job and it will reward you.


Breakfast like a king with Roast banana, bacon & maple syrup sweet-corn fritters and this week’s super healthy and energising juice recipe: Beetroot, carrot, kiwi & ginger.

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Beetroot, carrot, kiwi & ginger juice

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

I’m going to level with you: making veggie juice is a faff and your kitchen will resemble a war zone. I think it’s important you’re armed with the facts. For this very reason (and in the interests of keeping my job) I make a 3 ltr batch at the weekend, freezing 250ml bottles for  morning shots. On the plus side, it’s quite therapeutic, systematically feeding mounds of goodness into a machine which instantly produces an elixir of health. And my skin and energy levels are rejoicing.


Makes: 3 ltrs


1.4kg carrots, sprout end removed
2kg apples / 18 apples, halved
14 kiwi, rough end removed
300g ginger, chopped 2″ pieces
500g beetroot, halved with stalks removed



Soak fruit and veg in water with a tablespoon of vinegar for 10 mins to remove any wax and chemicals. Line the juicer bin with a bag for slightly less mess; this way you can throw the waste straight into the rubbish. Give or take…

Most veggies can go in your juicer whole, I tend to remove the particularly tough bits and drop veg into the feeder in stages as my juicer appears not to be fully up to the task.


Kiwi is an addition I wouldn’t do without; it adds body and a tangy smoothness that brings everything together. It’s also packed with Vitamin C.


Keep beetroot till last, unless you want red dye on EV-ER-Y-THING. Pour juice through a sieve to remove any pulpy foam.

Decant into bottles and keep in the fridge for a day or freeze.

Juicers don’t come cheap:

At least not the decent ones and if you find this is something you’re into, you’ll soon feel compelled to invest more pennies into an uber version. Amazon has a wide selection, including the following:

Sage (by Heston Blumenthal) Nutri Pro was recently recommended to me on the basis it does’t heat up. Think Cold Pressed, which preserves the ingredients’ nutrients, apparently. If it’s good enough for tech chef Heston…

Breville have lots of middle of the road options to start you off.