independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

I lost a stone easily -- on the coeliac diet

IT has been the easiest stone I ever lost. I haven't had to pound the pavement, frequent the gym, or swear off the drink. Or abandon ice cream or the occasional bar of dark chocolate. And this time it is not going to go back on again.

Being diagnosed coeliac was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. After years of being an omnivore, and proud of it, I now have to keep an eye on what I eat. The penalties for not doing so are severe. If a coeliac eats gluten, they get cramps, and bloat, and spend more time than anyone desires in the smallest room of the house. You learn to be careful, because it is not fun.

I firmly believe just three changes have resulted in 90 per cent of the weight that has disappeared. I am now in that nirvana where not only do my jeans feel looser, but I am in over a notch on the belt and people who tell me I have lost weight don't have to lie to make me feel good.

So here it is -- The Dr John Masterson Pretend-You-Are-A-Coeliac diet. (I save my PhD for emergencies).

ONE

I used to think I had a beer gut. No. I had a bread gut. And while there are an increasing number of gluten-free foods, I decided it is usually not worth the hassle. So I stopped eating bread. This means the early morning wholemeal slice with butter and marmalade. Gone. And the late-night television slice with cheese. Gone.

One of my great pleasures was to sit in French seaside restaurants and nibble on the bread over a glass of rose wine while I waited for the starter. I would then wipe up the juices in more bread and nibble on until the main course. I get positively orgasmic wiping up the garlic butter in bread after a feed of snails. So, in the average meal, I demolished a baguette.

Do I miss it? Not really. When you cannot have it, you stop thinking about it. This gets easier if the female face at the other side of the table mentions that you are looking wonderful and have lost weight. Which brings me to 'Let them eat cake'.

TWO

Well, maybe not cake. Eat as much as you like. But biscuits are the work of the devil. How often do you go to a meeting and there on the table is a supply of biscuits? And how many will be left at the end of the meeting? None.

As it happens, most biscuits contain flour, and hence are a short cut to being short taken, so I now give them a wide berth. You should join me. You, like me, do not think of yourself as a big biscuit-eater. But I have to admit I did not tend to leave them on the plate, and if the packet was opened I only thought it right to finish it. All biscuit tins should have a skull and crossbones on them.

THREE

A variation on one. Sandwiches are a crazy food because you never know how many you eat. If I have a steak, I know one is the appropriate number. With sandwiches, you just keep at it until the plate is empty. At KCLR96FM, where I am proud to be a board member, we have our planning meeting at lunchtime. There is an array of sandwiches with various fillings, and previously I had to try them all. Now I have coffee and a banana, and am much the better for it.

Think of it as the BBS diet -- bread, biscuits and sandwiches. This also stands for Body Beautiful Soon.

Yes, you too can have a body like this!

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