I occasionally get asked ‘how do you stay thin when you bake so much?’. There’s a very simple answer to that. I don’t.
About a year and a half ago, and 9 months post second baby, I decided to go on a diet. I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy with how I looked. So I embarked on the Dukan. Initially the weight loss was very slow despite drastically altering my diet. It’s only when I started exercising regularly that I noticed real changes in my body shape. Within about 4-5 months I had reached my ideal weight by carefully monitoring my diet and exercising almost daily. It was hard. And pretty joyless. At a hospital health check about 6-7 months ago I was ideal weight, BMI and even muscle to fat ratio (almost).
Then the baking fever took hold. Not sure what sparked it exactly. Possibly working on a cookbook, definitely an addiction to Pinterest and gorgeous food blogs, combined with suddenly having a bit of time on my hands. Anyway, long story not-so-short, at a recent health check up I was about 3 kilos heavier. And those 3 kilos can be linked directly to every single sinful mouthful of cake I have baked and eaten. I don’t blame the baking however. The cakes are innocent – leave them alone! It’s all down to me and my all or nothing mentality.
Going back to the Dukan diet was unthinkable, with so many temptations (of my own making) surrounding me. Instead, I, like many others it seems, am on the 5:2 diet. Without going into two many details, with the 5:2 diet you eat normally 5 days out of 7 and on the other 2 you only consume 500 calories (600 if you are a man). I have been doing this for about a month and I honestly can’t say whether I have lost any weight on it yet. I hope I haven’t put any ON considering the insane amount of baking I have been doing. It’s a work in progress.
The ‘fasting’ days can be hard, although they appear to be getting easier. I still drink a LOT of coffee and eat sensible small meals. I have discovered prawns are very low calorie, so I am having a lot of stir fries (there are some lovely 5:2 recipes over at Lavender and Lovage). And on a recent visit to the supermarket I discovered Almond Breeze almond milk. It was on offer so I decided to try it – purely because the unsweetened version clocks at an unbelievable 29 calories per 200ml! It works great in hot drinks (goodbye endless cups of black coffee) and in porridge, while adding but a smidgen to the daily calorie tally.
When I saw that Foodies 100 were running an Almond Breeze ‘create a smoothie’ competition I hastily put my thinking cap on. Quite a bit of experimenting followed (all in the interests of science) and the result is…. (drum roll please) the Breakfast in a Glass smoothie!
(makes one large smoothie)
200ml | 7fl oz unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk, chilled
1 medium banana, chilled
squeeze of orange
2 tbsp smooth porridge (such as Ready Brek)
1 tbsp sweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1-2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp almond (or peanut) butter
1. Add all the ingredients apart from the agave nectar in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 1 tsp of agave nectar, stir and taste for sweetness – you may want to add a bit more. You can blitz a bit of ice with the ingredients if you like your smoothies very cold. This smoothie is ridiculously healthy (apart, perhaps, from the coconut which you can omit) and tastes like an indulgent… dessert. It is 5:2 diet friendly too, so a winner in my book.
Note: Add 1/2 tsp wheatgerm and 1/2 tsp of flaxseed powder if you are feeling very virtuous.
Replace the nut butter with chocolate or hazelnut spread if you are after a naughty treat.