Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To carb or not to carb....

Yesterday I felt like a slug. Today I am bursting with energy.

I think the culprit for the sluggishness is carbs. On Saturday night I had pasta, delicious ravioli bought from Orange Grove Markets, as fresh as can be and quite irresistible. Sunday lunchtime I had the rest of the pasta. On Sunday night I had a pasta salad and couscous salad my neighbour gave me.

Yesterday morning I had toast for breakfast as I couldn't be bothered making anything else - only one slice as I wasn't hungry, I think I was still full from the carby dinner - and scoffed the rest of the couscous salad for lunch. I was tired, lacking energy and lacking enthusiasm. Couldn't be arsed taking the dog for a decent walk. Didn't want to tackle the ever-growing stuff in the inbox and was glad when a storm crashed overhead and I had to turn the computer off, just in case there was a lightning strike.

Last night I eschewed all the carbs sitting in the fridge and had a sausage, a baked beetroot (oh yum!) and some cauliflower with cheese for dinner. I woke up this morning feeling thinner, hungry and alert. Not that I weighed any less, but I certainly didn't feel bloated as I did the day before. This morning I had a slice of bacon and an egg fried in a non-stick pan, with some baby spinach leaves on the side.  I am raring to go!

Ageing is a bastard. I turned 50 last month. I don't feel it but my body isn't what it used to be. I used to be able to eat carbs and not put on weight or feel like I needed to curl up with the cats and sleep. Now my body runs better on protein and veggies, with only a few carbs per week. Considering mashed potato is one of my favourite comfort foods it's been a hard slog cutting down on the carbs, but I can see and feel an improvement without them.

Wheat is a big problem in our society in general these days. Over the last 50 or so years different varieties have been bred for high yield, and this breeding also includes an increase in gluten, far more than in the wheat my mother ate as a child.  Wheat ain't what it used to be. I don't think I tolerate the gluten like I used to; it bloats me. More and more people are exhibiting gluten intolerance it seems if the increasing number of gluten-free foods on the market is anything to go by.

Too much processing is a problem too. When I go to the supermarket just about every biscuit, cracker and crispbread is either wheat-based or rice-based. Not great. The best cracker you can eat is an oatcake; oats are low gluten if not gluten free, and fantastic for lowering cholesterol. You find oatcakes everywhere in the UK but here in Oz they were on the shelves for a few brief months last year then discontinued. I complained. Apparently not enough people joined me. So now I make my own oatcakes, and they are dead easy to make.

Cutting down on processed food including bread has helped me feel more energetic. I might eat a slice of bread a week; some weeks not even that. All the additives in a modern loaf have turned good old simple bread into an over-processed food. I was baking my own for a while there but since I cut out the carbs I haven't bothered; G still likes his toast with home-made marmalade and we try and buy sourdough from good bakers who don't load it with too many preservatives etc.

The last few weeks have been temptation-laden though as there is leftover mud cake in the fridge from my birthday. I'm rationing it to thin slices as it contains heaps of the other thing I've cut down on too - sugar.

I've tried to go sugar-free but I'm not a saint. I love dark chocolate. I love wine. Those are my weaknesses.  I am at an age and a stage where I'm likely to gain weight - menopause, anyone? - so am being bloody careful not to as excess weight isn't good for your organs and is seriously hard to shift during menopausal years apparently.

I'm planning another delicious carb-free dinner tonight. Another sausage (bugger the fat content!), asparagus and another little roast beetroot. Mmm.

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