My low carb life

Avocado salad for lunch (Photo credit: Dave Paul)

In the famous words of Ziggy Stardust, “I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.”

I have no idea what he was talking about, but over the last week, I have committed myself to eat a Keto diet; the one which is low carb and high fat. The very idea of cutting carbs from my diet made my stomach rumble, but I have forged ahead nonetheless.

I should explain a little of what ‘keto’ actually means. Keto is short for Ketogenic diet, where you reduce your carbohydrate intake to 10-15% of your calories and get the majority of your calories from fat. This puts your body into a state of Ketosis, where it starts to burn your body fat for fuel instead of converting carbs which are stored as fat. So you have to lower your carb intake but increase your protein and fat intake. That essentially means I have to stop eating chips, but I can eat loads of butter, cheese, eggs and meat.

Omelette - Dave Paul

Omelette, olives and cucumber meal. (Photo credit: Dave Paul)

From what I’ve been reading, the diet has many health benefits. There have been a lot of studies carried out that show that keto can actually help diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as giving you lot’s of energy. How can that be bad? It also apparently burns fat faster, and if I want that Christmas body I’ll have to move quickly. Here is how I got on:

Saturday – Day One

The first day was a shopping day. I made a trip to Waitrose because I like to think I’m middle class, and got myself a selection of low carb, high fat, protein-rich foods to eat; Italian meats, butter, cheese and more eggs than Michael Phelps. It seemed like a herculean task at first, but I found I actually had to buy LESS stuff as I was cutting out potatoes, pasta and rice which are basic food items. I then realised that all of my meals will be glorified ploughman’s for the next few months, and decided that there is definitely nothing wrong with that. Bring on the meat.

Sunday – Day Two

Off to a strong start. I made a low carb bread sandwich of mixed meats, pickles, piccalilli, cheese and salad leaves. I took a hit mid-afternoon when I realised that milk has carbohydrate in it. Damn you lactose, you natural milk sugar you. In fact, I found out that pretty much everything has carbohydrate in. Sugar is classed as carbohydrate. Everything has sugar in it. This is going to be harder than I thought.

My ‘builder’s tea’ isn’t the same without milk. And, no biscuit, no point.

Monday – Day Three

I can eat certain vegetables and still stay on keto, as long as I’m careful to choose low carb ones. Celery and spinach yes, carrots and parsnips no. I made a nice salad with meat, avocado, cheese and lettuce. I have decided that I cannot deprive myself of milk in tea and coffee. No milky Lattes though, a basic Americano with milk for me

Tuesday – Day Four

I have eggs for breakfast, again. As an ex-chef, I can’t help but turn out my omelette perfectly cooked and folded neatly onto my plate. I try not to think about the fact that I can’t have cereal, bread, bagels, rolls, toast, porridge, or French toast but I’m not focusing on what I can’t eat. It’s what I can eat that should be my focus. Mmmh, bacon. My breakfast usually keeps me full until dinner, but not today. No crisps. No chocolate. Unless it’s dark chocolate that has over 70% cocoa solids. Then I can have two squares, and still be low carb. I miss Dairy Milk already. Jerky to the rescue! I can eat lots of this, it’s 0% carbs, and I like to chew it like a cowboy as I play video games.
Sausages for dinner but with no mashed potato so I cook up pak choi and spinach and have it with a garlic and double cream sauce. Delicious.

This low carb thing is fine, why aren’t more people on this diet?

Wednesday – Day Five

I thought that lunch at university would be tough to keep low carb. Sandwiches, paninis, wraps; almost all convenience foods you buy have quite a high carbohydrate content in them, so I didn’t think I would be able to manage. To my pleasant surprise, the salad bar at the university is well stocked with low carb options. By avoiding the chickpeas and the jacket potatoes, but having extra cheese and olive oil, I had a lovely lunch and another omelette for dinner. I don’t know how Michael Phelps does it. I have a craving for salt and chilli chips though. Stay strong Dave.

Thursday – Day Six

Weirdly, this diet actually isn’t very difficult. Apart from the aforementioned not being able to get anything without carbs in it pretty much anywhere, you actually end up having to buy less food and saving yourself some money.

The other strange thing is that I am almost never hungry.

Something about not eating carbs that I thought was inevitable was constant hunger, but there was none! I have discovered how many things go with eggs, and being able to eat an entire packet of Italian cured meats and not feel bad about is incredibly liberating.

I think my face has lost some weight, I’m certainly looking thinner. Finally, a diet I can really stick to. I actually think I can finally lose some weight before Christmas and be happy at the same time. YES!

Friday – Day Seven

I got drunk and ate a Burrito at 2 am.

Saturday – Day Eight

The keto diet was fun while it lasted.

Budget 2016: Sugar Tax Hits Companies and Consumers

Jamie Braidwood


George Osborne’s announcement to introduce a new tax on sugary drinks has already had an impact on companies and shoppers.

The levy, which is set to be introduced in two years time, is targeted at soft drinks that contain a high proportion of sugar.

There will be two bands of taxation: one for drinks that contain between 5 and 8 grams of sugar per 100ml and a higher tax for drinks that contain over 8 grams per 100ml.

This will result in companies charging more for their products,  Coca Cola, Irn Bru and Lucozade are expected to be hit heaviest as they fall into the higher tax category, and shoppers paying more at the tills.

The Chancellor expects that the tax will raise £520 million, which will be put towards boosting school sports, and hopes that price increase will encourage people to cut down on the amount of sugar that they consume.

“I’d probably buy less fizzy drinks”, said Alison, 18, from Edinburgh, “if it’s cheaper you’re more likely to put it in your basket, but if it’s more expensive I would probably think again.”

Veronica, 20, agreed: “It’s a good idea. People don’t realise how much sugar is in these drinks and how bad they are for your health. This will not only raise awareness but will deter people from drinking too much.”

Meanwhile, shares of Irn Bru have fallen sharply since the announcement of the news. Chief Executive of AG Barr, the manufacturers of Scotland’s ‘other’ national drink, said: “It is extremely disappointing that soft drinks have been singled out.

“AG Barr has reduced the average calorific content across our brand range by 8.8% in 4 years.”

The sugar tax is thought to be aimed at young children in an attempt to change young people’s lifestyle. A single can of Coca Cola, for example, is 85% of an 11 year old’s daily recommended intake of sugar.

“It’ll be good for the kids”, said Connor, 22, “it won’t effect me as I’m not too concerned about the price.” 18 year old Abbie agreed by saying it will be good as long as it stops children from drinking as much sugary drinks, but it personally ‘doesn’t bother’ her.

Jamie Oliver, who campaigned for a reduction of sugar in drinks, welcomed the news and praised the government for making a ‘logical’ decision.

Speaking on social media, he said: “Amazing news. Business can not come between our kids health. Bold, brave, logical and supported by all the right people.”






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