by Katie Caldesi
Why do I instantly hear Frank Sinatra singing “oh the good life” in my head when I look at that title. How sad would we be if we were good all of the time. The thing is to choose the right snack or treat and to limit the glasses of wine.
Although we encourage people not to eat between meals, snacks may be useful when transitioning from a high- to lowcarb lifestyle. In the past, Dr David Unwin coped with his long surgery hours with a packet of biscuits in his drawer. Then he swapped to pecan nuts instead. Now he has no need for either.
There may be times when you would prefer a healthy snack in preference to a meal or you may have high activity levels.
Crisps and a glass of wine?
Sometimes it is the ceremony of it – if you are used to opening a bag of peanuts or cheesy crisps with your partner over a glass of wine before dinner, then admit it. If this is your weak point recognise it and decide to change.
When I cook I quite often pick at the food at the same time. I know that is my weak point so now I have some celery sticks or slices of red pepper to hand but I ban the crisps. If all else fails go to the fridge and get out what you want to snack on. Close the door of the fridge, prepare the food in the right quantity and put it onto a plate. Do not stand at the fridge with the door open eating – you simply won’t know how much you have eaten! Sit at a table with a glass of water and mindfully enjoy your snack.
Do not go back to the fridge for another helping. Step away from your plate, move out of the kitchen and do something else for 15 minutes; you will feel full enough. Go back to the kitchen later and wash up the plate feeling smug that you didn’t overeat!”
Instead of a glass of wine while you cook have a wine glass of sparkling water or my Ginger and Lime Sparkle.
Can I ever have a treat?
Giancarlo has always maintained that he could keep his type 2 diabetes in remission without a treat occasionally. Working full time in our restaurants is just too difficult if you want to be low-carb all the time. He allows himself a small portion of a low-sugar dessert or a bowl of pasta once a week.
However, what was once a treat for a special occasion is now a part of everyday life, and as a nation we are consuming too much sweet and sugary stuff!
As you begin to include more fresh foods within your diet, we hope that your palate begins to change, and you may even find that the naughty foods which you used to crave are no longer quite so enjoyable.
We are not killjoys and do recognise that you still want to have some fun around food. Hence we give recipes for petite puddings.
In contrast Dr Unwin would rather never have sweet treats as he feels it would give him cravings for more. You have to find what works for you.
It is worth pointing out that a couple of squares of very dark chocolate (70% or 85%) can also be enjoyed occasionally. This has relatively low sugar levels and is also a source of magnesium and antioxidants.
Alcohol is considered in the treat section, you don’t drink it because you are thirsty! Beer, lager and cider are out if you are watching blood sugar levels – they contain up to 18g of carbs (or 4.5 tsps of sugar) per pint. Wine is a better choice but keep within the Government guidelines of 14 units a week – this equates to around 4 glasses of 175ml. Red wine may have slightly more positive health benefits due to the resveratrol content.
Do be aware though that alcohol is a significant source of calories – very interesting that this info isn’t included on the bottle label. One glass of wine (175ml) clocks up to an additional 190 calories which may later sit around your waistline.
A word of warning too – when you follow a low-carb diet you lose water which means you are more affected by alcohol so you don’t need as much. I like my wine, as my friends will testify to, but now I am a lightweight compared to the old me. I prefer very dry white, reds and sparkling dry wines in smaller quantities or my head hurts a lot the next day and the pounds creep on.