The Accidental Diet

Living in a farmhouse 7 km from the nearest shop for the last two months has been good for me, and I'm now wearing the same size jeans I was over twenty years ago. I've given some thought as to why I should have lost weight, given that my health is excellent and there's no obvious medical cause, and it comes down to a few, basic principles.

My weight loss was slow, over two months. I really only noticed when the jeans I bought in early April refused to stay up without my wearing a belt. I've got rid of most of a belly that I've had for decades. I'm never hungry, except perhaps just before a meal, and I enjoy my food.

So for those who are interested in these things, this is my "accidental" diet.

  • One cup of real (not instant) coffee in the morning. I take milk and sugar, but the tea I drink for the rest of the day is plain black.  I also drink a few glasses of plain tap water each day.
  • Real porridge, not instant, for breakfast. If cooked properly it's almost as fast as instant. Using a small cup (or 1/2 cup) as a measure the proportions are 1 cup oats, 2 1/2 cups water. I like a tiny bit of salt too. Cook it slowly on top of the stove. It must boil for a short time. Soak the pan in cold water for a while, then the porridge comes off easily. I eat it with a teaspoon of sugar and a little milk.
  • For a snack I have fruit, usually a mandarin or an orange or a small apple. I've stopped eating bananas, perhaps because the ones I ate in Malaysia were so delicious and supermarket ones just don't come near them.
  • For lunch I have either a cheese sandwich with pickles of some sort, using wholemeal or multigrain bread and butter, or, if I'm home, a couple of eggs on toast. I only have two slices of bread per day, often I'll buy a loaf and it will go mouldy before I've finished it.
  • For dinner, some combination of vegetables and meat, even if it's only baked beans and sausages with eggs if I haven't had them for lunch. No bread.

As a general rule, a beer or a glass of wine at most once a week. I don't enjoy drinking on my own, so it hasn't been a great sacrifice.

I have one small packet of biscuits per week to go with my cup of tea. Sometimes I make some home-made muffins or bake a cake, or as a treat, I have toast and butter and strawberry jam or marmalade.

The general principles are:

  • Lots of fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and eggs. I cook with olive oil or butter or both. I use butter when I bake.
  • Little or no processed foods (that includes instant coffee and dairy spread). Two slices of bread maximum per day, very few bought cakes or biscuits.
  • Very little alcohol.

Please note that I'm not a dietitian or any other sort of expert, this is something that just happens to work for me.

2 thoughts on “The Accidental Diet

  1. John

    The best and most believable advice on diet I know is the FAQ list on the Unversity of Sydney's GI pages: http://www.glycemicindex.com/faqsList.php
    It is worth checking it out and using their database search engine to check the GI of various foods for yourself - looks like conventional oats (GI = 55 to 60) are slightly better than one minute oats (GI = 66). Note that grog is so low that it is irrelevant except for beer and this is still quite low. Personally I think soft drinks, sugar and lollies are the worst thing especially for kids. I suspect there are some kids who never drink water. Personally I am trying to kick the sugar habit particularly in tea and coffee. Getting there. I notice I have started eating more fruit and that I enjoy fruit more.
    I got onto this because of a single statement by Gary Taubes: "Weight gain and loss isn't about calories, it's about hormones". He means metabolic hormones like insulin.

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    1. Jennie Reid

      I've never been good at counting calories or GI. I think this works for me because of the low sugar content. I also have a theory that the more foods are processed, the worse they are for your metabolism. On this basis I eat the odd chocolate eclair - cream, choux pastry, a little chocolate are fine, as long as I don't eat them every day.

      I also don't believe fat makes you fat. Cows get fat and they eat grass all day, which is carbs. So I have butter, cream and cheese and food fried in olive oil or butter.

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