I’ve spent the last couple of days working hard on working out what i can eat for the next two weeks on the G.I. Diet. This, of course, is the GI Diet as promoted by Rick Gallop. The basic principle is that all foods are rated according to their Glycaemic Index rating, and then you eat the ones with the lowest GI rating.

This is gonna be a rather long entry so i’ve put the rest behind a cut:

[to cut a very long story short: Glycaemic rating is basically a measurement of how fast any given food takes to be broken down into the basic constituents that the body can absorb. In other words, how fast it gets absorbed by the body, and ergo, how much of an effect it has on the body’s blood sugar level. Something that enters the bloodstream very fast (e.g. a sugar cube) has a higher rating than plain wheat grains, which the body has to work faster to drain. Its kinda like the difference in sugar terms between the drip drip and the whoosh principle. in diets, drip drip is better.. keeps your blood sugar stable. Click the links if you want more info.]

In diet terms, its not quite that easy. Several foods are low on the GI index and yet have terrifically high levels of fat, which is obviously not good either (peanut butter being a case in point). Diabetics are often advised to use the Glycaemic index to help them keep their blood sugar stable, and as a periodic hypoglycaemic, thats not a bad thing. In terms of weight loss, however, both a low sugar *and* a low fat diet is necessary.

What Rick Gallop has done is made it relatively easy to follow a GI diet without having to literally count and look at each GI rating for each food. Its very similar to a common sense diet,  eating a lot of fruit and veg a day, keeping the blood sugar stable, lots of fibre, not so much processed foods. Its highly rated by the medical profession (as opposed to Atkins) and nutritionists. Once you’ve been through the part of the book that explains what you’re supposed to do, (including how to put together a plate: half fruit/veg, quarter protein and quarter carbs like rice/pasta) and why it works, the rest boils down to a list of red, yellow and green light foods. To lose weight, you follow green light foods. to maintain it, you can introduce some yellow light foods. In a recipe, some redlight/yellow light foods are unavoidable – e.g. cheese in say, lasagne, is a necessary evil, *but* you can use very strong cheese, so you get the cheese flavour with less fat, and take other steps to minimise the amount of saturated fat that normal lasagnes are so full of. You also minimise the amount of time that you eat a lasagne!

The books do have recipes in them, so yesterday i sat down and worked out the folowing eating plan for myself for the next two weeks:

Day   Breakfast Snack 1 Lunch Snack 2 Dinner Snack 3
W 1 Cereal Banana Tuscan White bean soup Banana Indian veg curry Berry crumble
T 2 Baked apple Roasted red pepper hummus Tuscan White bean soup Apple Raisin bread Garlic prawn pasta Berry crumble
F 3 Porridge Fruit bowl Rocket & roasted Pepper pasta salad Oatmeal cookies Mushroom & bean ragout Basmati rice pudding
S 4 Back bacon omlette

Pizza Basmati rice pudding
S 5 Cinnamon french toast Fruit bowl Thai shrimp soup Oatmeal cookies Vegetarian moussaka Berry crumble
M 6 Porridge Roasted red pepper hummus Thai shrimp soup Apple Raisin bread Ginger chicken Berry crumble
T 7 Porridge Fruit bowl Guacamole Salad Oatcakes Roasted veg macaroni and cheese Basmati rice pudding
W 8 Cereal Roasted red pepper hummus Cauliflower and chickpea soup Apple Raisin bread Beef Fajitas Basmati rice pudding
T 9 Porridge Fruit bowl Cauliflower and chickpea soup Oatkcakes Indian veg curry Berry crumble
F 10 Porridge Roasted red pepper hummus Cauliflower and chickpea soup Apple Raisin bread Thai Chicken Curry Berry crumble
S 11 Back bacon omlette Fruit bowl Yoghurt cheese and dips/salad Chewy peanut bars Mushroom & bean ragout Crustless fruittopped cheesecake
S 12 Shrimp and mushroom omlette Fruit bowl Southwest chicken and bean soup Apple Raisin bread Pizza Crustless fruittopped cheesecake
M 13 Porridge Roasted red pepper hummus Southwest chicken and bean soup Chewy peanut bars Vegetarian moussaka Crustless fruittopped cheesecake
T 14 Porridge Fruit bowl Tuna patty melt Apple Raisin bread Moussaka Crustless fruittopped cheesecake
*the gap is because Mom and Dad are visiting that day. No idea yet what i’m gonna feed them though..

Looks good, doesn’t it?  Here’s the problem: to feed me alone, all this, for the next two weeks, would cost close over £80.. and i just cannot afford that. I’ve still got to feed Michiel too! To put it into perspective: once the bills are paid, we must survive on £150 for the two weeks. that £150 has to supply us with food, anything extra we want to buy for the house like compost for the garden, travel if either of us needs to go anywhere (like taxi back from the supermarket – and don’t say carry it, i do, when i can, but its not always possible) and so on.

So: time to think again.

The biggest problem, looking at the shopping list, is the amount of fresh, raw ingredients. For example: i need almost 1.5kg of prawns, 7 red peppers, 3 green peppers, 1 yellow pepper, 1.5kg of strawberries, 8 cans of chickpeas, 250g of sirloin steak, almost 1kg of raw chicken, and about £30 worth of fresh fruit and vegetables (not including the peppers and strawberries).

I think i’m going to keep the evening menu as it is. Michiel is sharing some of those meals (his diet is of the kind where one day he does his diet, the next eat as normal), the meat based ones, the veggie ones i’m eating alone. I’m also going to keep the puddings in the evening because i’m one of these people that needs something sweetish to finish off a meal.

I think i’m gonna jettison some of the soups for lunch – or i may still do soups, but not these recipes. I’ll just have ryvitas with healthy toppings. In addition, the snacks: i’ll have sugar free jellies that i can make up, fruit, and so on. The roasted red pepper hummus will be going, as will the fruit bowl. peppers are just far too expensive, although, hopefully, i’ll be able to get stuff from the garden in a few months, and that will help quite a lot.

I think the biggest problem with this diet is going to be the amount of eating i’m going to do. And yes, i know that’s ironic. You see, at the moment, i have a meal twice a day, mostly – i have a late breakfast, a couple of hours after i’ve gotten up, and a main meal around 7-8pm at night. The rest of the time i might grab a quick sandwich, or even a bit of cake (like my teatime ritual), but i don’t classify those as meals. Returning to a three meal a day habit is going to be quite hard.

on that note: i’m getting hungry, its 20 to seven, so i’m gonna go nuke the pasta for dinner.