Saturday, 18 August 2018

A food blog? Moi?

I am the last person to be thinking of writing a food blog: While I was head of team at a large school I had early starts, a fifty-minute motorway drive in, ( thank you Vaughan) long days ( apart from Wednesdays and Fridays) and a staff of over twenty. I was responsible for more than 300 students, had a cross-school role, met ‘external agents’ on a fortnightly basis, attended meetings, met parents. I even taught. But never cooked. 

Needless to say, after twenty seven years full-time teaching, my husband, armed with a pension, a lump sum and retirement package, became the cook. I carried on working and paying the mortgage. ( Yes, after 27 years he was awarded a retirement package on health grounds. I know... I know...).

These days I occasionally do the Sunday lunch. I can roast a whole (small) chicken for two. I can cook duck - very swiftly - in a pan. I like to make a fish pie and occasionally manage a chilli con carne.

That’s a small repertoire. But, a few years after taking voluntary redundancy, I feel ready to write about the virtues of low glycemic index foods. Herewith a quote:

‘The glycemic index or glycaemic index is a number associated with the carbohydrates in a particular type of food that indicates the effect of these carbohydrates on a person's blood glucose level.’

Why now?

Following a back problem, serious pain and lack of mobility I have had slightly raised blood sugar. In other words I wasn’t moving about enough nor exercising regularly. I was on 13 painkillers daily at the height of the pain and truly struggled to get out of bed for a week or two. My blood sugar levels became a little raised. It’s nothing to worry about and is well under control but it has sparked my interest in low GI foods.

Nowadays you will see my shelves empty of white self-raising flour, icing sugar, plain white flour, caster sugar, granulated sugar, rich dark sugar, Demerara, pasta, white rice and even potatoes.

In order to allow my body to avoid working harder after a sugar spike I have learned to refrain from sugars or the aforementioned higher GI foods.

My latest concoctions have replaced wheat-based flour with coconut flour and almond flour. It is possible to make my favourite - carrot cake - with flour from nuts. It’s an acquired taste. But I may try a cake recipe using buckwheat flour instead. 

My interest in this turn around is simply to prevent foods breaking down to sugars too quickly once I have consumed them. My blood sugar is stable and I don’t want to upset the status quo. I have invested in ‘truvia’ and stevia sweeteners and I drink white wine with soda - occasionally - to further reduce the risk of raised sugar levels. I’m probably being over-cautious but, as Richard says, I like a project.

Another recipe I’m trying out is lasagne with layers of cabbage leaves rather than pasta sheets. Again pasta can have a high GI. I like pasta but am learning to do without. For my health - not because I’m virtuous or a great cabbage lover.

Even white rice has gone into my husband’s cupboard. I now cook with wild rice, which isn’t a rice at all, but has a slightly nutty flavour and is easy to bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat. Again it has a low GI. In place of spuds I have sweet potato ( some irony there) or squash.

And next week I will be cooking with edamame beans. My food blog proper starts then. 

A food blog? Moi? Sacre Bleu! ‘But you never cook, Nina,’ I hear you cry.

It’s a journey of discovery and one I’m enjoying. But I’m aware of the dangers of becoming a food bore. Meanwhile I’m blithe, ever so slightly excited and intrigued.

For the moment.

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