When I look back, I’ve been a carb/sugar addict all my life. I can still remember spending all my pocket money on sweets and nipping to the kitchen to see if I could grab anything sweet from the cupboards whilst my mum wasn’t watching as a young child. I was inevitably an overweight teenager and was 12 stone at the age of 12.
I was really unhappy about my weight but I was always hungry. My mum had always struggled with her weight too, so together we tried all the diets. Some were utter misery. Celery, low-fat cottage cheese and crisp-breads still make me shudder. Funnily enough the first really successful approach, when I was 16, looking back, was low carb! Boiled eggs for breakfast, Edam cheese and an apple for lunch and tea was meat or fish and green veg or salad.
I lost 3 stone in about 5 months. However, like most people, when I came ‘off’ the diet, I put the weight back on. My weight yo-yo’d around most of my adult life until about 7 years ago when I read John Briffa’s book ‘Escape The Diet Trap’.
I was pretty fed up with myself and the title seemed so apt. I really was in a trap. I learned so much from that book and started reading things out to my GP husband about how bread was sugar! He didn’t believe it at first but saw what a difference it made to me. That first time I gave up all sugar and carbs I felt REALLY grim for about 7 days. On day 8 though, wow! Loads of energy and positivity and no hunger! I’ve been low-carb ever since and so has David.
Together we set up a project at his practice to help patients with type 2 diabetes and other problems adopt a low carb lifestyle and you only have to Google 'Dr David Unwin' and 'low carb' to see the impact of his work. He now speaks all over the world. We also work with diabetes.co.uk on their amazing low carb program which over 400,000 people have now accessed
This year’s fun project has been working with Katie and Gian Carlo Caldesi on a low-carb cookbook. They are restauranteurs and recipe book authors and wanted to do a low carb cookbook after Gian Carlo reversed his type 2 diabetes and had to change his diet to accommodate coeliac disease.
I think anyone can benefit from avoiding refined sugar, refined carbohydrates and excess starch in their diet - but get support if you are on any medication. If you are a genuine sugar addict like me, then avoiding sugar and starch may be the only way to find food freedom. I’m pretty upset now when I see the amount of sugar we happily give to children, often as ‘rewards’ as `i think we are raising a generation of sugar addicts who will struggle as I did.
I support The Public Health Collaboration https://phcuk.org a charity aimed at spreading the message about the health benefits of a real-food, low-sugar lifestyle. This year I’m organising Real Food Rocks https://realfoodrocks.co.uk/ a one-day event on July 20th in the Lake District aimed at all the family and hoping to encourage people to eat a real-food, nutritious diet and understand how real food is produced.
Hope to see some of you there!