Instagram

I’ve started an Instagram account for the photos of what I’m eating. You can find me at LCHChef.

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An LCHF trolley

I’ve just been to the supermarket. I do a big shop after payday and top up through the month. This is what an LCHF trolley looks like:

Mountains of butter, tubs of mayonnaise (I’ve tried making my own but never been happy with the results), mozzarella, Parmesan, cream cheese, cheddar, halloumi, fish, meat (and some baked beans – not for me!). Just out of shot are fatty mince (as it’s 23% fat it’s marketed as the bargain basement stuff – hehe!), frozen berries (both children love a double cream berry smoothie, and I have one sometimes as a treat), black olives, aubergine, kale, courgettes (I’m going to try those courgette ‘zoodles’ everyone raves about), lettuce, green beans, red cabbage, cucumber, mushrooms and fresh coffee, my personal indulgence.

I don’t buy everything from the one shop, so my next trolley included more meats (including a nice fatty brisket for stewing), blue cheese, cream, Jersey milk as a treat for my husband and pork scratchings as a treat for me, avocados, tomatoes, live yoghurt as a started for making my own yoghurt (I’m planning to make naans for the others, to go with a fish curry on Sunday, a fish curry my husband won’t eat he’s vegetarian and my son won’t eat as he doesn’t like curry. Hey ho.), tinned mackerel fillets, cooking oil (cocount is impossible to find in the English countryside), coconut milk and pine nuts. Kerching!

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Weight loss stalling

When I started LCHF again a few weeks ago I lost three or four pounds very fast, which I’m sure was mostly water. I’d been conscious of water retention, especially in the second half of my cycle. Just those few pounds made quite a difference to me.

I weighed myself this morning (naked, post-poo, pre-breakfast, the only time I weigh myself) and was 12st 1/4lb, so within a gnat’s whisker of where I was before. Taking into account an inevitable element of water retention at the moment it means I’m staying more or less stable, but the weight is hardly falling off.

I admit I’m disappointed, but I have cheated a few times. Realistically I’m always going to cheat here and there, but maybe with having had a flu-type virus for the last fortnight my resistance to the odd glass of rum and piece of chocolate has been lower than usual. My meals are still carb-free zones, I rarely snack and even with the odd medicinal rum, my alcohol intake is extremely low.

I hope to be well again before Christmas starts in earnest, but I’ve heard from several people that this virus can take a month to shake off. I’m going to stick to my LCHF principles as closely as I can, especially after hearing a report on the radio this morning about the effects type 2 diabetes has on the body, and see where I am in January, when the dust settles.

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Being ill

Poor me, I’ve had a cold for a week now. It’s a particularly vicious one that has flattened me out at times. I haven’t much felt like cooking (my children have survived on toasted sandwiches and pasta) and my self-control has curled up and died. I haven’t gone mad on carby foods, but there’s no doubt that carbs = comfort so I’ve eaten a few things I shouldn’t, definitely including chocolate.

The really significant thing though is that I haven’t given up and gone back to my old habits. I’m still very stuffed up and grotty and freely confess to having just had some chocolate – good old fashioned milk chocolate, absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. This isn’t the end of LCHF though, it’s just a blip while I have no energy or enthusiasm for cooking and no will power to resist tasty things that cross my path. Realistically these times are going to happen all through life so I need to get good at recovering from them and maintaining my direction of travel.

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LCHF-life balance

We’ve had another celebration weekend (with birthdays, anniversaries, Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes, Christmas and New Year, they start at the end of October and carry on til the end of January), but this time I disgraced myself a little. It wasn’t the Chinese takeaway – I stick to meat and veg, avoid rice and noodles, and shut my mind to the sauces, as I know I’m doing my best. It wasn’t even the alcohol as I allow myself a couple of glasses a week (let it be known that with going out with friends on Thursday night I’ve also had next week’s allowance!). It was the pudding.

Last weekend the sweet foods didn’t tempt me at all (at the time anyway – will power was required to resist croissants the next day), but this time my mother had made rocky road. Now rocky road’s not something that’s ever peeled my banana before, but my mother had made this especially with very high cocoa solids chocolate, as she knows I’ll eat that. Despite the inevitably sweetened sprinkles on top, the sweetened cherries in it and the Cadbury’s chocolate fingers in it, I had some and oh my god it was amazing! She didn’t make a great deal and thanks be for that as although I managed to stick to a small bit last night (after a takeaway that wasn’t difficult) this  morning it looked, and indeed proved to be, irresistible.

I should mention here that I had no desire to eat the two types of ice-cream that we had last night, or the profiteroles. I made chocolate sauce to go with the profiteroles (double cream boiled up with dark chocolate), which everyone raved about, and last night my pud consisted of a small piece of rocky road, half a glass of chocolate sauce and a big spoonful of unsweetened desiccated coconut. I loved it and it was enough.

I’m hoping that I’ve got to the point where I can bend the rules and now and again really enjoy foods that don’t figure in regular LCHF eating, without wrecking the whole thing. I’ve found on previous LCHF attempts that once I eat something I “shouldn’t”, the wheels come off and I go back to eating wheat and sugar for weeks or months. If I can now eat LCHF 95% of the time with all the benefits it gives me of maintaining a healthy weight and feeling much better within myself, but stray on the odd occasion without wrecking everything, I will have achieved something that’s eluded me before.

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Is eating LCHF expensive?

No, not per se, but it’s easy for it to become expensive. It depends how much variety you want, how much meat you eat and how fussy you are about your ingredients.

I eat a lot of dairy, but some LCHFers keep it to a minimum or avoid it completely. How they do it I do not know. Milk and cheddar aren’t too expensive, even with paying 56p a pint through the milkman. Halloumi is about £1.60 a block (we go through three a month) and mozzarella about 45p each. I try to keep these to a couple a week maximum. I go through quite a lot of double cream. I love it in coffee (max two cups a day, often just one, sometimes none), it’s the basis for cheese sauce, I slosh it into curry, I whizz raspberries in it for a treat (but not too often – once or twice a month) and as I discovered the other day it makes a gorgeous chocolate sauce. It’s about £1.60 for a large tub and I must go through at least one a week.

I try not to eat too much meat, trying to keep it to once a day (though I failed today with ham for breakfast and a burger for supper). If I’m getting a bit low on fresh things though my ham intake will creep up as it’s convenient and filling. At around £3 a pack it’s not the cheapest and meat generally is one of the more expensive elements of my diet. Fortunately we have an endless supply of eggs as we keep hens so hard boiled eggs are an inexpensive and handy stand-by. I vary meat with fish, but that’s also a fairly expensive option. I buy one bag of smoke haddock fillets a month, at about £3, and have one a week or so.

Something that feels expensive is the constant stream of fresh veg I need, and it’s this that has me trotting to the shops most frequently. In a British winter you could exist on cabbage but it’s far more interesting to include avocado, aubergine, courgette, kale, bean sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce etc etc. This does push the price up so I have weeks where I rein in and have a limited range of veg in my meals. The only fruit I eat is the berries is sometimes make into a creamy pud. It’s about £2 for a box so I usually buy just one box a month.

Ancillary ingredients are very much a matter of choice and can be bought more or less cheaply. Take olive oil. I recently bought Philippo Berio at the best part of £4 for a bottle. When I needed to replace it I risked own-brand instead at about £1.50 and it’s absolutely fine, I’m very happy with it. Pine nuts are something I can’t buy cheaply, but we don’t go through too many of them so I grit my teeth and hand over £2.50 for a small bag. I love black olives and will buy whichever is on offer. Mayonnaise is something else I’m happy to buy own brand. I love ALDI’s 90% cocoa solids chocolate, which is cheaper than Divine or Lindt equivalents, so that’s a bargain. Nuts just are expensive but I buy own brand and don’t eat vast amounts.

In the end, LCHF is expensive if you want lots of meat and fish (especially really high-end stuff), exotic and/or imported veg and brand name odds and ends. If you stick to a more limited range of veg, own brand ingredients and mainstream dairy products it’s not too bad. £ for £ it’s giving you far better nutrition and will be more satisfying than cheap processed foods so it’s worth juggling the budget until you make it fit.

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