Hello, welcome and thank you for clicking on to my blog, The Low Carb Kitchen. Originally I started this blog back in 2014 as Paleo With Mrs P, but after 4 years, a baby and a book deal, I have decided to change the name, to reflect my recipes and lifestyle more. I am so excited to share my journey with you, along with lots of yummy recipes.
For the past 4.5 years, I have been following a low carb lifestyle. I started off eating Paleo; cutting out dairy, grains, gluten, alcohol, anything processed etc and learning to be as creative and diverse as possible with the foods available. I’m not going to sugar coat this and I will be brutally honest, starting it was one of the hardest parts and I did “restart” it about 4 times before I managed to get my head around everything and trusted myself that I could do it! But as soon as I’d got through the first few weeks and realised that the choices were endless and the restrictions -well, nothing that isn’t good for you, I found the Paleo way of life pretty straight forward.
However, as time went on and my lifestyle changed, we moved out of London, convenience was a little less convenient, I fell pregnant, started eating more dairy etc, I realised that low-carb was the best way of describing my eating habits rather than Paleo. Lots of people were confused by the word Paleo, some people assumed it was a disease, others didn’t know what it was and were put off by it. It started to prevent me reaching the people I was trying to. So after a lot of deliberation, it was time for a change!
There have been times when I have slipped out of low carb and as soon as I do I have found my blood sugar levels take the immediate brunt of it. So much has happened over the years, and my regression is always straight to chocolate. I have never been in to cakes, pasta or bread, but give me a swimming pool of chocolate and I would dive right in, with a straw. It is like an old friend, one that will be there no matter what. However, I know it doesn’t have my best interests at heart as it causes havoc with my sugar levels. If you have followed me for a while, you will know exactly about some of the hard times, the times when my diet just hasn’t been a priority, for example when Florence was really ill at 3 weeks – 9 weeks old (blog here). So, I fully understand that sometimes, even with the best of intentions, life and emotions can literally drown you and sometimes food is the only comfort blanket.
So, to give you some context about how and why I started low carb. In April 2013 my now husband, Ports, proposed to me in Lombok, Indonesia. It was such an incredibly romantic and inspiring place that made us both want to reevaluate our way of living and our bodies. The stunning natural landscape, constant summer weather, food and drink, was all so natural, organic and wholesome that we decided we had to go back there to get married.
Then just like that, 4 years ago Miss C became Mrs P. The idea of getting married on the beach was very daunting to me. Having picked 4 gorgeous blonde bridesmaids with endless legs and confidence to match I was imagining being the frumpy bride in the middle, hiding behind them all- probably sunburnt and slightly sweaty. However, I quickly banished those negative thoughts out of my mind and gave myself ten months to get in to the best health and shape I possibly could. All my salary went on rent, but the with the remaining amount I hired a personal trainer, Henri, who became not only a great friend and a mentor but also an inspiration as he was the one who initiated my love for the Paleo / low carb lifestyle. Henri pushed me to my complete limits, there was sweat and tears, but through sheer determination and seeing and feeling the results I kept progressing.
Flipping back thirteen and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Type one diabetes. I was in my final months of school and about to be set free on to the big exciting world, to go to University, to eat and drink what ever I wanted, the world was my oyster. However, having somehow adapted all the symptoms of diabetes (increased thirst, severe weight loss, lethargy, depression, cramping, weeing) I was in the final stages of ketoacidosis by the time I had made it to a doctor and had a blood test. I ended up in hospital for 2 weeks and it hit me very hard both emotionally and physically. At no point have I ever wanted diabetes to rule me, but until I converted to the Paleo way of life, I can honestly say that looking back- it did. I was forever chasing my tail so to speak- going from hyper to hypo and however stable I would get myself for several days, weeks or months, there would always be something that set me back to square one again.
Since sticking to a low carb lifestyle and increasing my exercising regime I have managed to cut my insulin intake by about 61%- although this does fluctuate esp for exercise / sick days / stress / etc (For any T1 diabetic out there, I was giving myself up to 62 units a day but now give myself a maximum of 23 ish units- with very little swings, limited highs and less lows. Although, don’t let me fool you, low carb is NOT a cure, it has not prevented the occasional highs and the lows. I am completely hypo unaware and as such wear a CGM, but that is another story! T1Diabetes is a complex condition, it isn’t straight forward and absolutely anything can affect blood glucose levels. There are some days where you just cannot explain the insulin resistance, and other days when you can’t stop being low! Exercise, weather, happiness, sadness, stress, medication, illness, all effect blood sugar levels. So, by eating low carb, I am able to cut out the highs that can come with a higher carb diet and the lows that can come from over compensating with insulin, over carb counting, guesstimating etc.
I have also managed to banish the following persistent health issues:
- Headaches (I used to suffer persistent headaches on an almost daily basis- brought on I am sure by my need for diet coke and erratic sugar levels.)
- Irregular periods (I now have a period every 23-33 days, having never had a regular period before September 2013 (back then it was an occasional one maybe every 50-60 days or so, and that “never knowing” when it was going to come) after being diagnosed with pcos at aged 18 – yes, it was a hard year!! )
- Acne- I used to be prone to erratic acne around my jaw and chin, my skin has been clear for years now. I used to coat my face in foundation, but only wear a little tinted moisturiser now.
- Bloating- I used to feel frequently bloated and “heavy”, I would regularly rush home from work and throw on the baggiest clothes I could find to allow my tummy to release itself and feel free. I no longer suffer from bloating, other than occasionally during my menstrual cycle.
And the following things have increased dramatically:
- No Cravings- I no longer have any of the cravings I used to for chocolate or diet coke, which used to be my two daily frenimies. If I crave anything now it’s roasted butternut squash and my ‘guilt free’ chocolate avocado mousse.
- Skin- much clearer, no spots, no oil
- Hair- much shinier and healthier
- I eat three meals a day with no snacking and no skipping meals
- I have a clearer mind, I am more positive, patient about life, goals and challenges
I could finally wear jeans with confidence, trousers for work and clothes I never had the confidence to wear before without wearing a big baggy jumper on top, or cardigan, or buying a giant oversized coat or bag to hide behind in an warped attempt at making myself feel and look smaller.
In 2015 I fell pregnant. I won’t write a lot on it, as I did detail my pregnancy through blogs (here). I had a very difficult start with hyperemesis gravidarum, where I was being sick 50 times a day. I lost a lot of weight and was very dehydrated. I was in and out of hospital with ketones (not from high blood sugar but from my body going in to starvation mode). It was a lonely and dark dark time. Survival was my only option, for the baby and for myself. The sickness and unshakeable nausea went at 13 weeks and I then had a blissful pregnancy. I adored it, I felt like it was what I had been born to do and honestly felt the most healthy and happy I have ever been. My daughter was born in August 2016 at 38 weeks gestation. I was fortunate to have got all that way without complication, I looked after myself incredibly well, I was incredibly well monitored throughout and kept my sugar levels in very tight range. She was born via c section and I had full control of my diabetes prior, during and after. Florence then had to endure life saving surgery at 12 weeks old (blog here), a time that is etched in my mind and a time that has thickened my skin more than I can explain in words.
I was very lucky to fall pregnant as easily as I did, especially as I was told that with type one diabetes and pcos that I would struggle. I didn’t let my t1 hold me back at any time, I didn’t let the few who had told me that it was best to avoid having children hinder my wishes and I certainly didn’t let the thoughts of “having a watermelon baby”, or “definitely getting pre eclampsia” even enter my mindset. You can read about my pregnancy with T1 here.
In 2018 I started using a continuous glucose monitor called a Dexcom G6. A wireless device that I wear on my tummy. It sends a signal to my iPhone which gives it minute by minute blood sugar levels. It sends me alerts if my blood sugar is high or low, parameters that I set. I have mine at 4.1mmol and at 7.5mmol. It gives arrows up , down, to the side or a diagonal up or down to indicate how your sugars are and where they might be going. It is incredibly useful. My husband also gets the alerts, which gives him peace of mind. He works away from Florence and I quite a lot so he can monitor me and phone if he’s worried. There is technically no need to finger prick any more. Although, I don’t think (after 13.5 years) that I will ever fully trust technology, so I do test occasionally just to make sure that the monitor and my blood sugar meter are on the same page. It really is an amazing piece of technology and I feel very lucky to have funding for it. Getting the funding was a huge battle, and one that I was very vocal about on Twitter especially. I had to go and fight my case, presenting to a board of 6 people, something that as a t1 diabetic wasn’t what I anticipated!!
I signed a book deal with Penguin Random House at the end of 2015 and began writing. It was a bitter sweet time as there was so much happiness with Florence’s birth, then the panic and terror of her being as poorly as she was. Then the book deal! A hard year, but touch wood, we got through it.
I co-wrote the book with international expert and endocrinologist Dr David Cavan, who also happens to be a best selling author of the Reverse Your Diabetes range of books! For this book I wrote 100 recipes and shared part of my story. It is a low carb cookbook and there to inspire people who follow low carb, are looking to try some simple and delicious recipes. It is there to show people how easy eating low carb can be for the whole family. It isn’t JUST for diabetics. Frustratingly the title suggests that it is just for diabetics (something that was out of my control), but it is there for everyone, just like my blog is! For the people who say that low carb is a fad diet, or that it doesn’t work, you are living in the dark. The amount of T2 diabetics that I meet and hear from on social media who are putting their diabetes in to remission is endless. It is working for people and people’s lives are being changed. I appreciate that it isn’t a “diet” for everyone, but neither is it a fad, or impossible.
My aim in this blog is to be as honest and open with you as I can possibly be. I want you to enjoy this blog, be inspired to try out some new recipes and get to know me. I have spent a lot of my 13.5 years as a t1 diabetic hiding it from people, wishing I didn’t have it, wishing I could be smaller, hiding under clothes and telling everyone that diabetes is an ok disease to live with so long as you are able to manage it yourself. Well, I was lying, it’s a life long struggle, it isn’t easy, it isn’t straight forward, but it is something I can work with and not against and I really do feel that at last I can say (touch wood), I am in control.
There is so much misinformation out there about diabetes in general and the blurring between type one and type two can be really hard to swallow. People don’t think before they speak, they just assume. The media have not helped with the ignorance surrounding the different types either. Being told that it’s “your fault” (please don’t read this as me saying that it is your fault if you are t2, I am just referring to my own condition as a t1), that you “don’t look diabetic”, or the age old “oh yes, my grandpa is diabetic, he’s blind and has no legs”. Diabetes is not a joke, and yet is the brunt of a lot of jokes in the media and on television. But behind every diabetic (any type), there is a person, a story, a family, and we must remember that.
This blog is for everyone and anyone, and if you have read this far (you deserve a medal) then I thank you so much and hope that you can come on my journey with me and share yours too. My aim is to continue sharing with you an array of exciting and delicious recipes as well as lots of other projects, diabetes information and lifestyle. In the meantime, if you are interested in following me on social media then you will find the links at the top of the page or if you would like to buy my book then here is the link.
Thank you for reading.
Let the journey continue…
Emma x x